American folk sculpture,
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No. 18. PREACHER. CALLED HENRY WARD BEECHER
Wood. Height. 21 ! : inches
THE WORK OF
EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURY
EXHIBITED OCTOBER 20, 1931
JANUARY 31, 1932
THE NEWARK MUSEUM
Arthur F. Egner, President
Louis Bamberger, Vice President
J. H. Bacheller, Vice President
Franklin Conklin, Jr., Vice President
Louis Bamberger, Treasurer
Beatrice Winser, Secretary and Director
Alice W. Kendall, Assistant Secretary
and Assistant Director
This exhibition of folk sculpture, so-called, is a further develop-
ment of the interest John Cotton Dana long felt in the evidence
of skill in craftsmanship and design to be found in America. The
forerunner of this exhibit, American Primitive paintings, shown
in the Museum last year, aroused the interest not only of students
of early America but that of artists and art critics.
Holger Cahill was largely instrumental in collecting the
objects in the exhibit, aided by members of the Museum staff.
The rather difficult installation of the exhibit, which has brought
much favorable comment, was made by Katherine Coffey and
The Catalog of the Sculpture and accompanying notes were
written by Elinor Robinson.
The Museum wishes to thank the artists and collectors who
have helped in assembling this exhibition:
American Antiquarian Society, American Folk Art Gallery,
Mr. Joel Barber, Mrs. Lillian W. Boschen of The O'Cro'Coc'
House, Freehold, N. J., Mr. Francis D. Brinton, West Chester,
Pa., Miss Dorothy L. Brown of The Kettle and Crane, Boscawen,
New Hampshire, Mr. Ralph Warren Burnham, Ipswich, Mass.,
Mr. Holger Cahill, Mr. M. A. Chase, Mr. Louis J. Clark, Nan-
tucket, Mass., Mr. John J. Cunningham, Jr., Mr. Carl C. Dau-
terman, Mr. Charles Dauterman, Mrs. Beryl De Mott, Mr. Albert
Duveen, Mrs. Hannah Erwin, Mrs. William T. Forbes, Mr. and
6 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
Mrs. Harold Fowler, The Free Library of Philadelphia, Mr.
Wood Gaylor, Mr. Harrold E. Gillingham, Mrs. B. K. Gold-
smith, Mrs. Edith G. Halpert, Mr. and Mrs. Stefan Hirsch, Miss
Margaret Jarden, Mr. Robert Laurent, Mr. William B. Leeds,
Mr. George McKearin, McKearin's, N. Y. C., Mrs. Charles Min-
shall, Mrs. Elie Nadelman, Peabody Museum, Salem, Mass.,
Pennsylvania Museum of Art, Mr. C. A. Rogers, Miss Elsa
Schmid, Mr. Arthur Sewall 2nd, Mr. A. Stainforth of the Bos-
ton Antique Shop, Mrs. O. N. Steelman, Miss Mabel Tidball,
Mrs. R. E. Tomlinson, Miss Dorothy Varian, Webster Eisen-
lohr, Inc., Mrs. G. H. Wilde, Mr. William Zorach.
List of Illustrations 8
American Folk Sculpture 13
WOOD CARVING 23
Ships' Figureheads 23
Cigar Store Figures 3 1
Catalog of Weather Vanes of Wood 40
Catalog of Miscellaneous Objects of Wood 46
Schimmel Carvings 54
The Pennsylvania Germans 5 6
Catalog of Other Bird and Animal Carvings 6 1
Decoy Birds 63
WORK IN METAL 71
Catalog of Metal Weather Vanes 77
Catalog of Miscellaneous Objects of Metal 8 1
Iron Stove Plates 8 5
POTTERY AND PLASTER ORNAMENTS 93
A NOTE ON STONE CARVING 97
READING LIST 103
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
No. 1 8 Preacher. Called Henry Ward Beecher Frontispiece
Figurehead. Andrew Jackson
Figurehead. Admiral Perry
Figurehead. Bust of Girl
Figurehead. Figure of Woman
Cigar Store Figure. Lady in Blue
Cigar Store Figure. French Canadian Trapper
Bust of Child
Lady in Chair
Inn Sign. Large Eagle
Black and White Cat
95 Decoy Birds
105, 106 Decoy Birds
Weather Vane. Horse
Weather Vane. Horse and Jockey
Weather Vane. Pheasant
Stove Plate. Cain and Abel
Nos. 190, 191 Chalk Ware Figures
In November of last year the Newark Museum opened an im-
portant exhibit of American Primitive Paintings.
As a logical successor of that collection, the Newark Museum
now presents, in an exhibit of American Folk Sculpture, an
even greater revelation of the art that characterized the work
of many humble and unschooled Americans of former days.
As charming as the paintings were, we could not persuade
ourselves entirely that we were viewing an wholly native
expression of American growth. As Mr. Cahill pointed out in
his introduction to the catalogue of that exhibit, most of the
artists represented had no doubt seen originals or reproductions
of paintings of foreign schools. They were endeavoring in
their own work to approximate the same effects.
What is so stimulating about the present exhibit is that we
have in it a truer and more indigenous expression of the Amer-
ican artistic sense because of its very absence of pretense and
When the men here represented laid their hands to their
tasks, whether in the production of a weather vane, a decoy,
an emblem, or a tradesman's sign, they doubtless did not aspire
to the rank of painters of portraits and landscapes. They were
fashioning articles for practical uses. Not being consciously
engaged upon art, they consulted no guide but nature. The
high result which they frequently achieved is eloquent of the
truth of their observation and the reverence and affection with
which they handled their material.
Here is another persuasive example of the truth of John
Cotton Dana's constant assertion that articles of common and
humble character may well be as significant expressions of Art
as products of cost and circumstance.
We may go through the collection almost at random. We
find a bird or a horse observed so understandingly and rendered
10 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
with such extraordinary synthesis as to invite comparison with
examples of antique Chinese art. May we not even find in
these humble articles an American tradition?
Some would have us believe that all our Art has come to us
in ships. This exhibit is a refreshing demonstration that native
in America there have existed fine observation and handiwork
even as in the case of like expressions in other countries and
Perhaps in these articles also our artists and artisans may find
the suggestion that they think less of schools, influences and
precedents, and reflect more on nature and the technical mastery
of their mediums.
Arthur F. Egner
No. 1. FIGUREHEAD. ANDREW JACKSON
Wood. Height. 1 2 feet
AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
The sculpture in this exhibition was gathered from public and
private collections and from dealers' galleries in the states of the
Atlantic seaboard from Maine to Virginia during the past sum-
mer. The greater part of it comes from New England and Penn-
sylvania, which were centers of craftsmanship in the Colonial
and early American periods. Most of the material is of the 1 9th
Century, though a number of the exhibits, such as the cast-iron
stove plates of Pennsylvania, and a few of the weather-vanes
and figureheads, date as early as the middle of the 18th.
In selecting exhibits the Museum has stressed esthetic quality
rather than technical proficiency. It has tried to find objects
which illustrated not only excellence of craftsmanship — and
there has always been a good deal of excellent craftsmanship in
America — but particularly those which have value as sculpture.
These sculptures were made by anonymous craftsmen and ama-
teurs, carvers, carpenters, cabinet-makers, shipwrights, black-
smiths, stonecutters, metal workers, sailors, farmers, and labor-
ers. The work of these men, as here exhibited, is folk art in
its truest sense — it is an expression of the common people and
not an expression of a small cultured class. Folk art usually
has not much to do with the fashionable art of its period. It
is never the product of art movements, but comes out of craft
traditions, plus that personal something of the rare craftsman
who is an artist by nature if not by training. This art is based
not on measurements or calculations but on feeling, and it rarely
fits in with the standards of realism. It goes straight to the
fundamentals of art — rhythm, design, balance, proportion,
which the folk artist feels instinctively.
The sculpture in this exhibition has significance for us as a
genuine expression of the art spirit of the American people, and
as a demonstration of the fact that talent has never been lacking
in America even when opportunities for the study of art
14 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
techniques have been very limited. There is a remarkable
variety of personal styles in these carvings and castings, and a
great deal of vigor and inventiveness even when the technique
is crude and primitive. It is among objects such as these that
we must look for the earliest American sculpture, and among
their makers we may discover sculptural talent of a high order.
The earliest examples of American sculpture, probably, were
ships' figureheads and weather vanes. William Rush, who has
been called our first sculptor, was a carver of figureheads. An-
other figurehead carver, John Bellamy, of Portsmouth, N. H.,
was undoubtedly one of the most richly endowed American
sculptural talents of the 1 9th Century. The carvers and moulders
of weather vanes are impossible to identify. One would like
to know who made the iron horses, Nos. 122 and 134, the
pigeon, No. 133, and the horse and driver, No. 135. These are
folk masterpieces which many a sculptor of great reputation
would be glad to call his own. More decorative but scarcely
less interesting sculpturally are the horse, No. 125, and the
rooster, No. 20.
Cigar store Indians are probably lineal descendants of the
figureheads. The unpainted Indian. No. 10, appears to have
been made by a figurehead carver. Sculpturally, the Indians
rarely equal the figureheads, but the best of them are carved
with boldness and simplicity, and when their colors have been
mellowed by time, as Nos. 1 1 and 12, they are among the most
interesting examples of American polychromed sculpture. Less
picturesque than the figureheads and the Indians, but even more
interesting as the sculptural efforts of the common man, are
the wildfowl decoys. These were, and still are, made by
hunters, village whittlers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and profes-
sional decoy carvers in every section of the United States where
there is bird hunting. Wildfowl decoys constitute a most
extensive field for the collector, and they have a special appeal
for lovers of Americana. Mr. Joel D. Barber is authority for
No. 2. FIGUREHEAD. ADMIRAL PERRY
Wood. Height, 34 inches
AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 17
the statement that the art of decoy making is indigenous to this
country and that our first decoy makers got the idea from the
Indians. Many of the decoys in this exhibition, Nos. 75, 88,
89, 92, 106 and 107, are folk sculpture of no mean quality.
The types of American folk sculpture are too many to enum-
erate here, and no doubt there are many objects of this kind
which have never seen the light of an exhibition gallery. In
addition to the objects listed above one may mention carved
signs and trade symbols, lawn figures, toys, bootjacks, door
stops, stove plates, hitching posts, the Pennsylvania Dutch
chalk ware figures, and various kinds of architectural embellish-
ments for houses and ships. Most of these things were made
for use, but here and there one finds examples of portrait sculp-
ture, or a carving which has no apparent basis in utility and
which was made simply for the pleasure of making it. Exam-
ples of this type of folk sculpture are the portrait of Henry Ward
Beecher carved by an Indiana farmer, the girl's portrait carved
by Alexander Ames, the portrait of the seated woman, No. 35,
by an anonymous Pennsylvania Dutch carver, the Broncho
Charlie relief, No. 41, the Hunter and Bird group, No. 69, and
the crude carvings from the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Nos. 36
The Pennsylvania animal carvings, Nos. 56, 57, 58 and 60,
are difficult to classify. Probably they were meant to be toys,
and if so, they are among the most distinguished toys made in
this country. The Schimmel carvings, Nos. 53, 54, 55, are
crude, but there is a power and originality in their very crudeness
which has made them sought after by American collectors for
many years. The iron stove plates, Nos. 180, 181, 182 and
186, are a branch of American folk art practised exclusively by
the Pennsylvania Dutch. These plates were cast in great number
in the decades immediately after 1740. The design in the best
of them is simple and well controlled, and there is a good deal of
quaintness and humor in the treatment of the subjects, Nos.
18 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
181 and 186. Another branch of folk art local to Pennsyl-
vania is that of the chalk ware figures and animals. When these
are good in design and color, they take their place with the
best examples of American decorative sculpture in polychrome.
American folk sculpture has been almost without honor in
its own country until very recently. Contemporary interest in it
began with the modern artists who found in this folk expression
a kinship with their own work, and a proof that there is an
American tradition in the arts which is as old as the European
colonization of this country, and which is vital today. A num-
ber of artists and collectors have been gathering this material
for some years, not because it is naive, or quaint, or crude, or
because of its historical associations, but because it has genuine
sculptural quality, and because they see in it an evidence of the
enduring vitality of the American tradition.
The story of American folk sculpture would make one of
the most fascinating chapters in the history of the arts of design
in the United States. When this folk art is better known it will
do much toward giving us a better perspective of American art
history, and toward creating greater respect for the American
tradition in the arts. Fine examples of American folk sculpture
have been gathered by such pioneer collectors as Mr. and Mrs.
Elie Nadelman for their museum at Riverdale-on-Hudson, and
by the late Henry Chapman Mercer for his Doylestown (Pa.)
Museum. Many other collectors have specialized in certain
items. There are collections of figureheads, Indians, eagles, fire
marks, etc., but rarely, except in the Nadelman museum and in
the present exhibition has this material been shown because of
its sculptural quality and because of its importance in any total
view of American art.
No. 3. FIGUREHEAD. BUST OF GIRL
Wood. Height, 27 inches
No. 5. FIGUREHEAD. FIGURE OF WOMAN
Wood. Height. 5 feet 2 inches
For centuries prows of wooden ships have been adorned with
figureheads. The Egyptians decorated the graceful stem-like ends
of their boats with simple carvings of lotus or water lily leaves.
Though Chinese and Japanese boats were not apt to have any
carving, the heads of Chinese junks were often painted with a
large eye, to prevent collisions. The Greeks and Romans sought to
please their gods by placing their carved images on galleys, and
the ships of the Norsemen bore terrifying figures to ward off evil
spirits and frighten the enemy. The gorgeous European vessels of
the Renaissance were so loaded with rich carvings that the impor-
tance of the figure on the prow — generally a lion or dragon or a
royal personage — was greatly diminished. 18th century figure-
heads were brilliantly colored like the earlier ones, but in the 1 9th
century, when the number of commercial vessels increased, the
figures were less belligerent and quieter in color.
Most American figureheads now preserved were made in the
fifties or sixties, the period of the clipper ships, or later. Those
were the days of success and triumph for Yankee merchants and
Yankee sailors. In the seacoast towns like Salem and Boston, and
later New York and Philadelphia, the return to port of a majestic
clipper ship laden with cargo from the far East or gold from
Australia, was a great event. Salem was an outstanding example
of a town whose life centered about the harbor. At the wharves
were the yards of the shipbuilders and the counting houses of
the merchants, and nearby stood the storehouses. The homes were
all close to each other and to the water; often a boat was moored
almost in the owner's yard. The beautiful things brought back
on their ships had a marked effect on the taste of the people.
The men who built these fastest of sailing ships had been
trained in their youth to habits of thoroughness by the builders
and carpenters to whom they were apprenticed. Theirs was a
24 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
respected craft, and one on which the prosperity of the town
depended. Attached to the yard, or nearby, was the workshop of
the ship's carver, trained in the same traditions. Like the skipper,
the owner and the sailor, he felt the spell of these vessels and, stirred
by visions of the strange seas his creation would cross, he would
put into it his best. To England, China, Australia and California
went these great American ships, sometimes alone and sometimes
in fleets. Many stories are told of the feeling of awe and affection
with which the sailors regarded the lonely wooden figures which
went before them on their hard voyages.
Only a few names of carvers have come down to us. Greatest
of all was William Rush of Philadelphia, 1756-1833, whose
work won him orders from English ship owners. The son of a
ships' carpenter and apprenticed at an early age to a ships'
carver from London, Rush always considered his business sec-
ondary, and was more interested in working on wood portrait
busts and full length figures, some of which were used in the public
buildings and squares of the city. Typical of the fine type of
citizen who sometimes worked at ships' carvings was Samuel
Mclntire, 1757-181 1, the "master carver of Salem", better known
for his work in architecture and furniture. He was the son of a
carpenter, and trained in Salem shipyards. He became so respected
for his skill and good taste that for years no public improvements
were carried out in Salem without his advice. John Bellamy, for
many years attached to the Navy Yard of Portsmouth, N. H.,
was a prolific worker. He is represented in the exhibit by three
eagles probably made to be placed over doorways of ships' cabins.
The majority of the figureheads, however, were anonymous.
In America they often represented the ship owner or his wife,
or a person prominent in public life. The haughty Andrew
Jackson and the bust of Admiral Perry come under the latter
classification. Frequently the full length figures leaned out over
the water, one foot forward, head thrown back and hair blowing,
as if pushing against a heavy wind. More often than not, the
No. 6. CIGAR STORE FIGURE. LADY IN BLUE
Wood. Height, 5 feet 2 inches
No. 7. CIGAR STORE FIGURE. FRENCH CANADIAN TRAPPER
Wood. Height, 3 feet 7 inches
SHIPS' FIGUREHEADS 29
carver could not overcome a certain woodenness in the expression
of his figures, but there was generally in them that sturdy, uncom-
promising quality characteristic of people who know the sea.
With the passing of wooden ships these figureheads are seen no
more on the water. Since it was a matter of pride to the captains
to have their figureheads repainted each year, many of them are
still preserved in spite of the continual exposure they have had,
and may now be seen in marine museums and in the gardens or
galleries of collectors, a reminder of the grandeur of the ships they
once adorned and of the skill of the men who carved them. The
Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Mass., and the Peabody
Museum in Salem have interesting collections of American figure-
heads; in the private musuem of Mr. and Mrs. Elie Nadelman in
Riverdale-on-Hudson, N. Y., there are some fine foreign examples.
There is also a group at India House in New York City, and an
outstanding figure in the Boston Marine Museum.
CATALOG OF SHIPS' FIGUREHEADS
1 . Figurehead of Andrew Jackson. Lent by William B. Leeds.
The subject of controversy for over twenty years. According to the cata-
log of the sale of the Max Williams' Marine Collection, held at the Ander-
son Galleries in 1928, this figurehead was placed on the Constitution about
the first of May, 1834. The head was sawed off on the night of July 2,
1834 while the ship was moored in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Restored
twenty-seven years later, the figure was exhibited at Willowdale Park,
Lowell, Mass. Here it remained until 1925 when the estate to which it
belonged was liquidated.
There is, however, another figurehead of Andrew Jackson at the
U. S. Naval Academy about which the same story of decapitation is told,
and which is said to have been placed on the Constitution in 1834 and
removed to the Naval Academy in 1870.
References bearing on the controversy may be found in "The Frigate
Constitution" by Ira N. Hollis; U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Novem-
ber 1927, pages 1167, XX, 1211-2, 1245-9 and 1250-1, September
1928, pages XLIX and 776-8, and June 1929, pages 527-8; and "On
The Decks of Old Ironsides", by Snow & Gosnell. (In press, Macmillan.)
Remarkable portraiture. Fine deep-set eyes, determined jaw, drawn
lines about mouth, and haughty carriage all bespeak man of people, —
30 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
independent, confident, accustomed to working against odds and scornful
of opinion of others. Bristling hair treated in manner which sets off
rugged countenance. Slight sweeping motion in folds of great cape adds
to effect of self possession.
2. Admiral Perry. Lent by Ralph Warren Burnham. See illus-
Frank, straightforward eyes, well arched brows, firm, self-assured mouth.
A courageous face with a touch of recklessness and haughty tilt to chin.
Details of costume and hair well carved. Touches of blue still left on coat.
Finish of arms and base show academic influence.
3. Bust of girl. From a boat which sailed on Long Island
Sound. Found near Bridgeport, Connecticut. From a private
collection. See illustration.
Made to pitch forward. Intelligent forehead, straight nose, slightly smiling
mouth. Heavy hair blown back a little though no attempt, as in some, to
create effect of strong wind. Utmost simplicity in treatment of dress.
Impersonal face; from side, almost phlegmatic. Simplicity and calmness
suggest Greek sculpture.
4. Sailor boy. From the collection of the late Harold M. Sewall,
Solemn and stocky. Wooden expression no doubt increased by recent
repainting of staring eyes and repairs on nose. Nevertheless simple, modest,
stalwart and free from self-consciousness. Feeling of power and control in
jaunty pose with powerful chest thrown out, hands in pockets and one
leg bent forward. Costume well done. Suggestion of texture in blowing
red tie and white shirt. Head very thick through. Carrying over of flesh
tone into area that should belong to bushy beard gives unnaturally square
jaw. Same tonsorial effect seen in primitive portraits of period.
5. Small full length figurehead of woman. Late 1 9th century.
Lent by Louis J. Clark. See illustration.
Little suggestion of the sea in this dainty lady with long street costume
and tightly rolled umbrella, but figure of unusual charm and grace. Dis-
tribution of color very pleasing, with combination of soft grey blue and
green in hat, skirt and base, and notes of black in hair, girdle, umbrella
and slippers. Just enough attention given to gathers of white blouse and
gently blowing folds of blue skirt; reverse curve of slim body rendered with
grace and restraint. From right, uplifted head and hand on breast make her
appear tragic; from left she seems determined and courageous. Extreme
daintiness, as contrasted with heroic size of many figureheads, appealing.
WOOD CARVING 31
CIGAR STORE FIGURES
The origin of the cigar store Indian is connected with the tradi-
tion of trade signs. In London, when buildings had no numbers
and there was a large proportion of illiteracy, merchants often
advertised their wares to the passer-by by means of symbolical
signs. The three golden balls of the money lender and the beaver
hat of the hatter were familiar ones. Many Americans will remem-
ber the sheaf of wheat which until about sixty years ago hung out-
side the baker's shop, the large tooth before the dentist's office,
the shears of the cutlery shop and the glove of the glovemaker's.
Until the great plantations of Virginia and the Indies began
to send tobacco to England, the English had confined themselves
to the taking of snuff, sold at apothecary shops. The first tobacco
shops, which appeared during the reign of Queen Anne, advertised
themselves by a carved figure resembling a negro rather than an
Indian, and wearing a kilt of tobacco leaves. The confusion in the
minds of the sculptors probably resulted from the association of
the Indian, who smoked tobacco, with the negro who raised it on
the plantations. Later, statues of the Highlander, the Dutchman,
and a conventionalized roll of tobacco were used by the English
It was in his native land that the Indian achieved his full glory.
It is thought that the first ones were made by carvers of figure-
heads. Later, when the practice became more common, the work
was taken up by Swiss and German carvers who settled in the mid-
American cigar store figures are not confined to Indians. Be-
sides the more usual chiefs and squaws there were Sir Walter
Raleighs, Lord Dundrearys, Punches, Uncle Sams; and, though a
perfect lady was not allowed to smoke, wooden ones frequently
offered cigars to others. They were sometimes designed by the
carver, and sometimes copied from book illustrations or prints.
There is an amazing variety of types, and it is seldom that two
32 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
are found alike. Later in the century cigar store signs were cast
The greatest vogue for cigar store Indians in this country came
between 1 850 and 1880. The modern city has gradually crowded
them from the streets. Perhaps because it appealed less to their
imagination to carve a commercial sign than to create a figure one
day to sail the seas, the carvers seldom got into the wooden
Indians the fine spirited quality of the figureheads. Many of them
have however a certain stiff vigor and often good distribution
of color, which makes these typically American carvings worthy
CATALOG OF CIGAR STORE FIGURES
6. Lady in blue. Supposed to be Jenny Lind. Lent by Web-
ster Eisenlohr, Inc. .See illustration.
Others have called this type Dolly Varden. It has been said that no other
artist in music or the drama has appealed to men of the sea as did the
famous "Swedish Nightingale", who lived from 18 20 to 1887. She
came to this country under the management of P. T. Barnum and in the
days when swamps almost cut off Battery Park from the rest of Man-
hattan, she used to sing there to huge audiences in the old Castle Garden.
Two clipper ships were named for her and one bore a bust of her as a
Possibly made by a carver of figureheads. Face more alive than many
cigar store figures. Slightly lifted skirt reveals beneath carefully scalloped
petticoat, sturdy calf and high black shoes, elegantly pointed outward.
7. French Canadian trapper. Found near Stockbridge, Mass.
From a private collection. See illustration.
Good portrait of type. Low forehead, narrow eyes and swarthy features.
Swing of body, quiver on shoulder and rolled blanket pack indicate one
accustomed to long tramps through forests. Soft greens, with touches of
yellow and red, good with dark color of skin. Flowing feathers on head
clashing touch. Left arm restored.
Probably a familiar figure in early New England when forest hunters
came to New England "trucking houses" to exchange furs for the white
8. Indian squaw with quill. From a private collection.
Rather masculine face and uncompromising expression. Pose, stepping for-
ward, and blanket over shoulder, conventions often used. Attempt at
Indian costume, but in shape of figure and bustle-like back, strongly
No. 19. BUST OF CHILD
Wood. Height, 14) 2 inches
No. 35. LADY IN CHAIR
Wood. Height. 1 2 inches
CIGAR STORE FIGURES 37
influenced by styles then prevalent. Leaves at waist probably a relic of
English tradition. Deep blue and rose of costume lightened by touches of
gold in earrings, head band, fringe, garters and moccasins. Right arm and
9. Lady in rose and blue. Lent by William Zorach.
Realistic portrait of lady fashionably and pleasingly dressed. Dark hair,
deep red lips, and rose behind ear suggest Spanish type. Once wore ear-
rings. Masculine ears, long nose and slight double chin show no attempt
1 0. Archaic Indian figure. Found near Stockbridge, Mass. Lent
by the American Folk Art Gallery.
A compact figure; little motion in thick-set body, but great spirit in face.
Absence of paint emphasizes sculptural qualities. Intensity of primitive
artist reflected in his work. Wide, eager eyes and pleasantly pursed up
mouth. Hair carved into block in thin strands rather than standing out
in solid mass as in later figures. Long, stiff fingers and crisp curve of
blanket end also more primitive.
1 1. Small Indian squaw. Found near Rockland, Me. Lent by
the American Folk Art Gallery.
Aloof and restrained. Simple areas of greyish colors well divided. Yellow
blouse and shoes, blue skirt; rose blanket down one side of back, con-
trasted with yellow and blue dress on other side; fringe and other touches
of gold. Again, convention of leaves at waist. Simply modeled features
like white woman's but fierce concentration in eyebrows.
12. Indian squaw with animal's head. Lent by the American
Folk Art Gallery.
Wide, staring eyes and dark skin. Upraised arm, brandishing tobacco leaves
instead of usual pack of cigars. Costume elaborate; reddish blanket
roughly hewn at back as were many others. Heavy beads strung on metal
strand. Animal's head, probably wolf, no doubt intended to represent
totem of her tribe.
13. Indian squaw in red and green. Lent by Robert Laurent.
Definite impression of motion in forward lunge of body and backward
sweep of robes. Sharp features not Indian in type. Pleasant expression and
1 3A. Indian squaw in red and black. Found in New York City.
Lent by Mrs. Elie Nadelman.
A stocky, quiet figure. Deep colors relieved only by white of face and
stockings. Penetrating, far-seeing black eyes and arched brows daubed on
white face. Arms held down at sides, one hand clutching rose and other
holding box, give figure repose. Great height of three feathers adds dignity.
Solid Victorian legs and long, black shoes.
38 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
14. Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines. Gift of Herbert E.
This pompous image of the famous subject of a once popular song, stood
for half a century outside of Fearey's cigar store at Newark's four corners.
Definitely a caricature. The sculptor must have worked with his tongue
in his cheek as he carved the grotesque, Punch-like features, the mustaches
sweeping to the captain's ears, the narrow black shoes with their heels
clicked together, and as he exaggerated to the point of the ridiculous, a sol-
dier's rigid and self satisfied posture. The splendor of his tight fitting
uniform would be hard to surpass. In his mouth the Captain formerly
held a cigar. A similar figure, known as a bandmaster, guarded a cigar store
in Coldwater, Michigan, in 1855.
15. Small Turk. Lent by the Boston Antique Shop.
Turks as cigar store signs came into prominence when Turkish tobacco
and mixtures attained their popularity. This, a careful, sombre portrait
showing academic influence. Hair treated realistically, earnest features finely
carved, stubby hand with large-jointed fingers well done. Dignity in pose,
elbow leaning on short column.
16. Turk. Made in Monmouth County, N. J. Lent by
Squatty, calm, erect, flat-footed. More colorful and simple in spirit
than other Turk. No attempt to simulate folds or textures. Flat areas of
soft primary colors in costume, broken by touches of black in belt, tassel
of cape, dagger and shoes; rose and blue brought into large turban. Black
hair painted on. Position of pudgy hands over stomach contributes to air
Partly because the Biblical injunction against "graven images"
caused sculpture to be frowned upon, especially by the Puritans,
and partly because in a pioneering country such things were con-
sidered a luxury, almost no sculpture was to be found here before
the Revolution. The earliest pieces were imported from England
by wealthy families; plaster casts first, then marbles ordered by
Anglican families to be placed in churches to commemorate their
dead, and later contemporary political figures clad in Roman garb.
Among the earliest native attempts at portraiture are the old, flat
gravestones on which local stone cutters sometimes chiseled vigor-
ous if not flattering likenesses of the deceased. Patience Wright,
a Quaker from Bordentown, N. J., who lived from 1 725 to 1 786,
modeled portraits in wax, but there was so little demand for them
in her own country, that she finally settled in London where her
work was more enthusiastically received. William Rush of Phila-
delphia, who is considered the earliest American sculptor, has
already been mentioned in connection with figureheads. Besides
distinguished portrait busts made as figureheads, he did a plaster
bust of Lafayette and full length wood statues of Washington,
Penn and Franklin. Samuel Mclntire carved a large medallion
relief bust of Washington for one of the posts of the entrance gate
to Salem Common. Coming into prominence a little later than
painting, from such beginnings American sculpture developed.
The academic sculptors who followed were strongly influenced
by classical and contemporary Italian work.
Though the group of folk portraits in the exhibit is very
limited, it gives an idea of the individuality of scattered attempts
at portraiture. The Governor Winthrop is so finished that it
would hardly be classed as folk sculpture except that it was carved
by a man who attained to excellence through a thorough ground-
ing in craftsmanship rather than through academic training.
Alexander Ames was known only locally, and probably had a
little training. About the isolated carver of the so-called Beecher
nothing is known, but he must have been spurred on by a pro-
found admiration for his subject, so that, in spite of obvious lack
of knowledge of methods, he infused much of his own simple
reverence into his work.
CATALOG OF PORTRAITS
1 7. Bust of Governor Winthrop. By Samuel Mclntire. Lent by
the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.
Ordered by The Reverend William Bentley of Salem on May 12, 1798,
and delivered to him on May 21st. Bentley also owned a chalk drawing
and a miniature of Winthrop painted in England prior to 1630, the year
when Winthrop came to Salem. Bust supposed to have been copied from
latter; though face follows miniature closely, ruff is turned down instead
of up, and coat with buttons is Mclntire's addition. Hence, probably,
entry in Bentley's diary, "Mr. Maclntire returned to me my Winthrop,
and I cannot say that he has expressed in the bust anything which agrees
40 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
with the Governour." Another difference might have been that whereas
in other portraits the governor appears to be a hardy looking person, he
here seems quiet and delicate.
A finely carved portrait showing great sureness of handling. Intelligent,
sensitive forehead. Turn of head and high arch of brows give far-away
look to large, morose eyes. Droop of mustache emphasizes slight droop
of small mouth. Pointed beard adds to length of thin face. Fine growth
over drawn cheeks. Treatment of hair unusual — top brushed back roughly
over crown of head, back hanging straight to shoulders. Ruff carefully
done, arms and shoulders finished in simple, classical style. Well pro-
18. Preacher. Called Henry Ward Beecher. Found in an Indiana
farmhouse. From a private collection. See Frontispiece.
With simplest and crudest means sculptor has achieved by the earnestness of
his attempt, a remarkably vital figure. Sharp outline of flowing hair
frames a face stern, determined, uplifted. Tiny straight hands clutch
huge Bible from which spirit seems to draw strength. Absolute stillness
of body, and curve of shoulders tend to concentrate interest on head.
Figure seems complete in spite of lack of legs. Arms with loose sleeves are
separate pieces applied.
19. Head of child. 1847. By Alexander Ames. Lent by John
J. Cunningham, Jr. See illustration.
Carved and polychromed oak. One of three portraits of sisters by same
man, about whom little is known except that he worked around Buffalo,
New York, between 1 846 and 1 850. One portrait now owned by Albright
Art Gallery of Buffalo, another by the Museum at Fitchburg, Massachu-
Very similar in spirit to best of primitive paintings of children. Like
painted children, erect and eager. Finely dotted lashes make wide brown
eyes a little staring. Affability especially apparent in expression around
mouth. Gathers of rose dress, set into plain yoke, carefully done. Hair
brushed sleekly back of ears, then springing out in six pert, fat curls.
CATALOG OF WEATHER VANES OF WOOD
20. Stylized rooster. From Portsmouth, N. H. From a private
Individual conventions show contrast between soft down of head and breast
and heavier feathers of wings and tail. Strong decorative feeling in down-
ward sweep of wing feathers and luxuriant spreading tail. Head and small
pieces of tail and wing restored.
21. Farmer. From Blue Mountain, Pa. Formerly sat astride
iron pheasant, No. 130. From a private collection.
Long face with large sharp features like work of child. Dogged expression
from front; rugged profile. Interest in details. Tin brim to hat; shirt and
collar indicated; pockets on overalls; heels and stirrups on boots.
No. 48. INN SIGN. LARGE EAGLE
Wood. Height. 4 feet 7 inches; wing spread, 3 feet 8 inches
No. 54. SCHIMMEL EAGLE
One of group of eight Schimmel carvings
Wood. Height, 20 inches; wing spread, 28% inches
WEATHER VANES OF WOOD 45
22. Red and white cock. From Pottstown, Pa. From a private
Long thin neck as if stretched to crow. Painted thumb tacks for eyes.
Simple summing up of outstanding features. Two solid red pieces, painted
with wavy streaks, make each wing. Solid white tail with streaks of red
and serrated edge to suggest feathers.
23. Dachshund. Found near Rockland, Me. Lent by C. A.
Silhouette with no attempt at carving on body except suggestion of ribs.
Low, slightly curving line of head, back, and tail gives effect of motion.
Not straining hard. One leg of lead so that body will swing.
24. Soldier. Lent by C. A. Rogers.
Very crude. Eyes like slits, low brows, thin straight mouth and pirate-
like hat cocked at angle, give him hard cynical air.
25. Sailor in boat. Lent by C. A. Rogers.
Like work of child or primitive man in simple development of forms.
Shape of head repeated for body. One arched piece for hips and legs. Two
dimensional except for realistic sou'wester hat which shoots out in back
26. Man with high hat. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery.
Haughty gentleman with long statesman-like nose and strange, large ears
scooped from back of head. Like many primitive portraits head largest
because most interesting to artist; steadily diminishing scale from head
down. No attempt to carve costume, but tin high hat and coat tails fastened
at waist are elegant touches.
27. Large man in frock coat. Lent by Miss Elsa Schmid.
Swarthy complexion, uncomfortably square shoulders. In profile, fore-
head and lower lip protrude, leaving flat area between. Dressed in best soft
hat, frock coat and trousers with braid.
28. Axe grinders. From the firehouse of the Union Fire Com-
pany, Chambersburg, Pa. Lent by Albert Duveen.
Jointed bodies which move when wheel is in motion. Leather coats and
felt trousers. All working in deadly earnest.
29. Strutting rooster. Lent by Albert Duveen.
Stained pine silhouette. Vigorous curves of breast and arched tail. A few
broad reddish strokes indicate breast wings and tail feathers. Angle of
long, wide legs adds to air of extreme independence.
30. Trotting horse, painted red and green. Lent by Mrs. B. K.
Silhouette. Good understanding of subject. Fairly heavy but graceful
animal. Curves of legs and nearness to ground give easy motion. Bar
46 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
uncomfortably near knees. Difficulty with perspective causes unnatural
doubling under of legs on far side, but rather decorative feeling in result.
Stiff, fluted mane and tail.
CATALOG OF MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTS
31. Barroom figure. From Maine. Lent by Robert Laurent.
Gleaming white eyeballs and intensity of whole little figure would frighten
anyone into buying the enormous grapes which he offers so forcibly.
Jaunty costume rendered without too much attention to detail.
32. Gilded and plastered wood figure of girl. Found near East-
port, Me. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery.
Lovely, quiet figure. Dreamy look in heavy eyes; mouth small and demure
but warm. Wavy hair soft and heavy. Knowing, visionary expression is
emphasized by size of head, large for body. Gentleness in small, droop-
ing shoulders, and right arm, pointing upward. As if warning or admon-
ishing with hand, but too far away to speak. Feeling for round forms.
Held together by direction of left arm. Rich, decorative treatment of
drapery at base. Whole figure has great repose, but more warmth and less
energy and self-assurance than most American work. Though found in
Maine, American origin questioned. Flemish or German feeling in propor-
tions of narrow shoulders and waist, large breasts and full hips. Possibly
by German carver who settled in Maine. Original use unknown. Looks
as if made for side of doorway.
33. Head of bird. Supposed to be the mythical roc. Billet head
from ship. Found near Rockland, Me. Lent by the Ameri-
can Folk Art Gallery.
Horizontal lines give illusion of straining against strong wind.
34. Full length figure of girl. Lent by the Boston Antique Shop.
A certain heavy wistful attractiveness, but little vitality. Good, simple
treatment of drapery, and feeling of body beneath. Traces of former gild-
ing show through present grey paint.
35. Lady in chair. Found near Ephrata, Pa. From a private
collection. See illustration.
Intelligent forehead, wide bright eyes with lashes carefully painted. Rosy
cheeks and round face like German Christmas angels. Sharp nose and
determined chin of capable, amiable housewife. Solid mass of wavy hair
beautifully stylized. Looks as if missing forearm had met other in similar
position. Seated, erect, in simple country chair. With admirable thorough-
ness artist has even rendered from back, white-stockinged, red-gartered legs.
Feeling of bulk in square masses of bosom and lap. Carved and colored
diagonals of dress trimming make extremely decorative figure. See note
on work of Pennsylvania Germans.
MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTS 47
36. Two sailors, carved in the Portsmouth Navy Yard. The
larger is said to be Admiral Dewey. From a private collec-
Crude but sturdy attempts at portraiture. Probably done by. sailors during
idle hours. Imposing mustaches; amusing, scroll-like ears; removable hats.
37. Two figures of women, carved in the Portsmouth Navy
Yard. From a private collection.
Made from old mahogany, possibly parts of ships' cabins. May have been
copied from coarse ladies tattooed on the bodies of sailors.
38. Pipe figure. Found near Pottstown, Pa. From a private
This and three accompanying grotesque figures from period of Godey's
Lady's Book. Hats form bowls of pipes, stems fit into bodies. All show-
deftness of handling and biting, satirical wit more sophisticated than other
carvings. If made in this country, probably by carvers trained abroad.
39. Pipe figure. Found near Portsmouth, N. H. From a private
collection. See No. 38.
40. Pair of pipe figures. Found near Boston, Mass. From a
private collection. See No. 38.
41. Relief scene. "Broncho Charlie". Lent by Mrs. Beryl
Dramatic fight between frontiersman and Indian, crudely carved and
painted in warm, soft colors on old pine. At lower right printed "Bronco
Charlie, His Last Shot". Excited horse back of Indian most successful part.
42. Arm from military figure which once stood on the estate of
"Lord Timothy Dexter" in Newburyport, Mass. Lent by
The Kettle and Crane Antique Shop.
Timothy Dexter, 1747-1806, was an illiterate man who, by sheer luck,
acquired a large fortune after the Revolution. In middle age, having an
unbalanced sense of his own importance, he built an elaborate home, on
the grounds of which stood numerous triumphal arches crowned with
life-sized wooden figures. Above the arch immediately in front of the
entrance were effigies of Washington, Adams and Jefferson. There were
military figures, lions and lambs — over fifty carvings in all. Their owner
traveled about in a coach drawn by a span of cream colored horses, and he
took to himself the title of "Lord Dexter" impelled, so he wrote, "by the
voice of the people at large". An engraving in Newburyport shows the
house in all its glory, but though its story is known all over New England,
it seems impossible to find anything but fragments of the statues which
once adorned it.
48 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
43. Cane with closed fist handle. Lent by The Kettle and Crane
Spiral carving of stem suggests work of furniture maker.
44. Small figure of woman. Found near Gloucester, Mass. Gift
of Miss Mabel Tidball.
Broad, capable, calm. Hands clasped over breast. Simple costume.
45. Wood star with relief of Washington's head. Lent by C. A.
46. Anchor. Probably carved by sailor for ship's decoration.
Lent by C. A. Rogers.
47. Crude carving of man. Lent by Holger Cahill.
When Washington, the newly elected president, made his first
triumphal tour of the young republic, it is said that he was greeted
on every hand by painted and carved images of the eagle, just
adopted as the national emblem. For the next fifty years it con-
tinued to be one of the most popular motives in American decora-
tion. Transparencies shone at windows of public buildings and
even ladies' fans and men's buttons were ornamented with them.
Great, powerful eagles spread their wings at the prows and sterns
of vessels as figureheads and counterboards; smaller ones were
used as billet heads and over cabin doorways. On land they were
seen finely carved and gilded over the entrances of prosperous look-
ing houses or cast in brass as knockers; inside the houses daintier
versions decorated furniture, china and even woven coverlets.
CATALOG OF EAGLES
48. Large eagle. Formerly used as a sign for an inn near Paw-
tucket, R. I. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery. See
Balancing, with head and neck pulling forward, powerful lowered wings
straining, huge feet clutching ball. Beak wide open, eyes fierce, as if in
effort to hold position. Regular, stylized, overlapping treatment of feathers
very decorative; resembles metal. Like foreign armorial bird. Perpendicular
No. 5 7. POLYCHROME ROOSTER
Wood. Height. 10'-; inches
No. 68. BLACK AND WHITE CAT
Wood. Length, 121: inches
outside lines of wings and long tail effective. Holes through breast where
rods formerly held in place above doorway. Must have appeared even
more formidable from original lofty location.
49. Young eagle. Found in Connecticut. Lent by the American
Folk Art Gallery.
Small head, rounded beak, long neck like that of fledgling. Rugged but
amiable bird. As with many others, tail stiff and square. Rose, blue, gold
and green blended into warm, dull effect. Fine divisions of feathers indi-
cated by scratches in rough wood.
50. Three eagles. Said to have been carved by John Bellamy,
1836-1914, for a long time carver of figureheads for the
Portsmouth Navy Yard. From a private collection.
Bellamy, last of the famous wood carvers of that section, was a resident
of Kittery Point, Maine, just over the New Hampshire line, where his
father owned the old Sir William Pepperill mansion. He began work at
Portsmouth during the Civil War, making figureheads for all the warships
built there at that period. He is best known for his eagles, having made
large ones as figureheads, and smaller ones to be placed over doorways on
ships and public buildings. He was a prolific worker, and carved many
birds of the type here shown.
Difference in quality of each in spite of similar general characteristics
as adapting of design to narrow strip; delicate, simplified stylization of
feathers; comparatively straight edge of left wing feathers contrasted with
sharp, uneven arrangement of those at right. White one most successful:
free, rhythmical sweep to top line of wings; tragic, lonely feeling in lift of
head and look of eye. Putty colored bird has some of this feeling but less
poignant, perhaps because throat line is not so long. One of mahogany
with short, thick neck has ugly air; less wildness in straighter wings, though
carving of head is very good.
5 1 . Small painted wood eagle. Lent by Charles Dauterman.
Said to have been carved by a Civil War patient and given to Surgeon
Jeweson in token of admiration. Realistic.
52. Large black and white eagle. Lent by M. A. Chase.
Powerful, round, undecorated body. Wing feathers simply suggested.
White head and tail feathers especially good.
Among the Schimmel carvings described in the following note
are also several eagles.
54 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
Schimmcl was a Pennsylvania German of uncertain date who was
wounded in battle and afterwards traveled about the state carv-
ing sturdy toys and ornaments in return for his board. He chose
as subjects, eagles, large and small, roosters, dogs, and sometimes
more ambitious groups such as an amusing Adam and Eve or
scenes like the hunter and birds, No. 69.
To show differences in surface he employed devices which made
for a highly individual style. On all of the eagles the breast
feathers are indicated by diagonal carvings which give a raised,
diamond effect, and the rows of jagged feathers on their wide
spread wings stand out in sharp relief. They are generally painted
a warm, dark tone, sometimes brightened with dots or splashes
of a lighter color on the breast, the wing feathers often outlined
with a contrasting shade. Some of them are varnished, others
have a flat finish. In spite of similar treatment, there is individual-
ity in each bird. A group of three large eagles includes one of
shiny black, with a thick powerful neck and strong elongated
toes. He has an ugly expression. One of light tan stretching his
long neck, looks young and gawky. No. 54, see illustration. The
smaller one between them is more nervous; his breast is decorated
with spots of red and yellow instead of the diagonal carvings.
In the two latter the rough carving is continued into the feet.
There is personality, too, in the smaller birds. With a telling
twist in their awkward necks he makes them look angry and scorn-
ful as do the small one of mahogany, and the larger of the parrots,
No. 54; or wondering and surprised as the energetic little eagle
perched on the green block of spiky flowers. The stiff legs of the
two parrots are particularly good, and the flare of the tail of the
larger one touching the ground and curving out like a lady's
ruffled skirt, is very decorative. Even in the smallest there is
energy and an air of readiness to be off.
The Schimmel roosters are stockier and much less graceful than
SCHIMMEL CARVINGS 55
the "Pennsylvania pine", see No. 63. They have a certain saucy
brightness and charm, but their bodies are small and stiff, their
wings short and legs long, and their stubby tails, carved in the
third dimension, are far less elegant than the fan-like plane of the
others. About the large rooster, No. 55, there is a general look of
unhappiness in the eye and hunched up body, which has none of
the play of curves of the other type. His long legs and huge feet
are similar to those of the eagles. His fluffy plumed tail, however,
though very short is rather decorative from the back.
The coats of the dogs are suggested with the same diagonal lines
as the feathers of the birds. Two hunting dogs with clipped backs
are sniffing the trail, their noses pointed and their short tails stiff
and attentive, their long legs with big paws snapped back.
Schimmel seems to have been particularly successful in catching the
unconscious alertness of young animals.
Probably especially exciting for children was the little painted
tiger with the great dog-like head, who fairly grins with the bliss
of holding in his huge teeth a stiff and utterly helpless little man.
To them this wandering carver must have been a welcome guest,
and no doubt their elders too enjoyed watching his vigorous ani-
mals emerge from the wood.
Though lacking the grace or subtlety which characterize other
Pennsylvania carvings, they have instead a certain blatant vitality,
and an equally keen, though more crudely rendered understanding
of animals. Even more than the others he kept to his own devices
rather than attempting naturalism. Recent appreciation of his
work has led to general, and probably not always accurate, appli-
cation of his name to this style of carving.
CATALOG OF SCHIMMEL CARVINGS
53. Fourteen Schimmel carvings. From a private collection.
54. Eight Schimmel carvings. Lent by McKearin's. See illus.
55. Large Schimmel rooster. Lent by the American Folk Art
56 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
THE PENNSYLVANIA GERMANS
The folk products of this country have naturally been greatly en-
riched from time to time by the infusion of new blood from other
countries. Strongest of all was the influence of the Pennsylvania
Germans. Bringing with them a fondness for fresh color, a natural
and robust instinct for design, and thorough traditions of work-
manship, there is an unmistakable individuality — gay, solid,
honest — about everything they produced. It is seen in their
painted bride boxes and chests, in the bright fractur paintings with
which they recorded births and marriages, in the colored tiles, and
in their plaster cottage ornaments and iron stoveplates. See sec-
tions on these subjects.
As with the work of many foreign peasants, two outstanding
characteristics reflected in their decoration are their closeness to
the soil, and their deeply religious nature. In the stoveplates
especially is the latter apparent; among the plaster ornaments,
shrines and angels were popular subjects, and the fractur paintings
were often embellished with the sprightliest of angels. Their
fondness for the tulip in decoration is seen in these pictures and
in the decoration of furniture, pottery and cast iron.
With a background of centuries of farming in the old country,
and of hard experience in the new, where their lives were so
bound up with the live stock they cared for, the German settlers
had a deep-rooted understanding of animals which few artists
today are fortunate enough to possess. The result, at the hands of
craftsmen endowed with ease of handling material and a strong
decorative sense, was an unconscious stylization which conveyed
the spirit of the animal without being too realistic. Certain con-
ventions turn up again and again in these carvings. In portraying
both horses and roosters, two subjects most often chosen, the
heads and tails almost always curve slightly in the same direction,
giving them quiet poise and grace, and bringing out characteristic
muscular motions. Many of the horses are in a similar pose, quiet
but alert, with necks arched, noses in, one hind leg a little lifted,
No. 88. Wild Swan. Length, 33': inches
No. 95. Sea Loon. Length, 25 1 : inches
No. 105. Pigeon. Length. 19 1 : inches
No. 106. Loon. Length. 11 inches
No. 75. Sleeping Black Duck. Length. 15 1 : inches
BIRD AND ANIMAL CARVINGS 61
tail carved in one piece with the other leg. And often there is a
subtle interplay of planes in the tilted, fan-like tails and the curved
bodies of the stiff-legged roosters which are so characteristic of
this district that they are known as "Pennsylvania pine". Rarely
do the crudest versions lack grace and a living quality. Nervous
curves in the bodies of small birds suggest quick, light motion, and
now and then there is a glimpse of humor in a gay and unrealistic
These people expected things surrounding them to be decorative
as well as practical, and the great number who tried their hand at
some kind of creative work were not set apart as a special class.
This attitude must have developed widespread aesthetic discrimi-
nation, affording a type of enjoyment which mass production
methods have gradually taken away from the working people.
Most of the birds and animals in the following group were
made by Pennsylvania Germans.
CATALOG OF OTHER BIRD AND ANIMAL CARVINGS
56. Horse. From Pennsylvania. Lent by Mrs. Edith Halpert.
Similar to No. 58, but a little stiffer and less mature looking. Shorter
body, neck and chest less developed, legs long and not so well shaped.
Playful tilt of head. Both horses have carved and painted waving manes,
and painted red saddle cloths.
57. Polychrome rooster. From Pennsylvania. Lent by the Ameri-
can Folk Art Gallery. See illustration.
Carver simplified and improvised on decorative attributes of roosters,
making fine piece of design and still bringing out essential spirit of subject.
One of most subtle and effective figures in exhibit. Restrained, sinuous
curves of neck, breast and body contrasted with slanting plane of elaborate
tail, give elegant motion. Different simple devices indicate breast, wing
and tail feathers. Similar conventions in base. Steps peacock-like to dis-
play to best advantage from every position splendor of tail, which spreads
nearly to his haughty head and down to ground. Contour of separate
carved feathers conform to large right angle. Irregular surfaces of dull
yellow, orange and black suggest, without attempting to be true to life,
sheen of roosters' feathers. Air of supreme assurance.
58. Horse. From Pennsylvania. Lent by the American Folk Art
Stately, massive, patient. Great ease of bearing. Good arch to thick neck,
nose in, head turned a little to right in same direction as powerful hind
62 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
quarters. Convention of slightly raised hind leg, and heavy sweeping tail
carved with other leg. Interesting contrast to dashing horses of metal
weather vanes. In spite of stillness, feeling of unlimited latent energy.
59. Round painted bird. Lent by the American Folk Art Gal-
60. Small horse and cow. From Pennsylvania. Lent by the
American Folk Art Gallery.
Same conventions of pose as No. 56 and No. 58, but less suggestion of
muscles of body. Remarkable contrast in contours between tense, alert
spirit of horse and relaxed, sagging pose of cow.
61. Small dog. From Pennsylvania. Lent by O'Cro'Coc' House.
62. Two birds. Lent by O'Cro'Coc' House.
The tiny yellow bird is attributed to John Lahn who lived at Hammer
Creek Meeting House, Pennsylvania, from 1796-1890. Keen interpre-
tation of motion.
63. Five Pennsylvania pine roosters. Lent by C. A. Rogers.
Style of rooster known as "Pennsylvania pine". Heads with large combs
turned to one side, wings simply indicated; large fan-like tails, generally
carved in one piece and fluted to suggest feathers, are set at angle to bodies.
Polychrome rooster, No. 57, is finest and most elaborate attempt, but even
simplest has grace and spirit.
64. Painted pigeon. From a private collection.
Perky pigeon decorated with raised paint. Red and black tulip on breast
similar to one on shaped blue pedestal.
65. Small spotted dog. From a private collection.
66. Miniature rooster and hen. From a private collection.
67 '. Pair of dappled horses. From Portsmouth, N. H. From a
Simpler and more conventional than Pennsylvania horses. More like later
mechanical toys. Good lines for backs, necks and noses; straight bellies.
stiff legs. Heads very narrow from front, giving expression of sorrow and
wonder. Amusing, but none of sculptural quality of No. 56 and No. 58.
On gaily flowered platform.
68. Black and white cat. From Pennsylvania. Toy or doorstop.
Lent by Francis D. Brinton. See illustration.
Synthetic interpretation very like modern work. No eyes. One listens for
purrs coming from squatting, relaxed body with black tail curled con-
tentedly around it. Sufficient unto himself.
BIRD AND ANIMAL CARVINGS 63
69. Hunter and bird scene. Lent by Mr. and Mrs. Harold Fowler.
Smooth carving, mellow colors, varnished. Simply laid out. Hunter
beaming as he sees prey. Dog attentive, nose pointed, leg raised. Fowl,
separated from him by brush and still unconscious of fate, intent on devour-
ing three large seeds. Variety of good poses as each, standing on stick legs,
strains to get something for himself.
70. Maple bird. Lent by Mrs. Edith Halpert.
Continuous, flowing outline; bulbous forms of neck and body, with
smooth, yellowish varnished surface give slippery, wet appearance.
7 1 . Small bird. Carved by the donor's grandfather. Gift of Mrs.
72. Birds on tree. Found in Pennsylvania. Lent by Holger
Good interpretation of quick twitches of slim bodies.
73. Barnyard scene. Found near Providence, R. I. Owned by the
Whittled by old resident of Wakefield, R. I., to fit into cigar box. Utter
disregard of comparative proportions of man, barn and animals; evident
delight in working out details, as horns of cow, and perky ears and curling
tails of piglets.
74. Small painted pigeon. Lent by Miss Dorothy Varian.
74A. Rooster. Found in Manchester, N. H. Lent by Mrs. G. H.
Similar to conventions of so-called Pennsylvania pine roosters. Has been
suggested that fine lines carved in fan-shaped tail were conscious imitation
of underside of mushroom.
74B. Large lamb. Found near Marblehead, Mass. Lent by Mrs.
R. E. Tomlinson.
Decoy birds are indigenous to this country, having been used here
by the Indians long before the white man came. Besides actually
making likenesses of birds, the Indians used dead birds or stuffed
skins. The colonists took over Indian methods of hunting, using
64 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
These birds were and still are made by hunters, blacksmiths,
carpenters, village whittlers and professional decoy makers in
every section of the country where there is bird hunting. Mr.
Joel Barber has listed over sixty varieties of birds which these
anonymous carvers have portrayed, among them duck, loon, goose,
plover, rail and snipe. In this vicinity, Barnegat Bay and parts of
Long Island and the New England coast have yielded many inter-
esting examples. Some were made to float on the water and lure
their live counterparts within shooting range; "stick-ups", placed
on shore to deceive land birds, are so called from the fact that they
are "stuck up" on pegs which fit into holes in their bodies. Though
the birds vary greatly in type and workmanship, they give in
common a living impression of the smooth motion of water birds,
and the alert, jerky poise of those which live on shore.
Some are very primitive interpretations. Outstanding in this
class is the arrogant black loon in the group numbered 98 which
looks like an African carving, its tall neck haughtily pulled back,
its bill and breast confidently shooting forward. The loon, No.
106, with its flat, boat-like body, unrealistic silver tail with ser-
rated edge, and quick turn of the neck, is another. The flat white
eider duck, No. 86, with bold black border and face markings,
gives a remarkable impression of resting quietly on the water. In
spite of its crudeness, No. 103, with bent nail legs has a feeling
of throbbing life in its round body, and the contour of the spike
bill curlew, No. 92, with bill curving sharply downward, is dec-
orative. The large, alert stick-up pigeon, No. 105, has a self-
sufficient look in his round human eye, and the haughty sweep of
his wing. Others less crude are still synthetic versions; an effective
one is the long, flat sea loon, No. 95, with a sharp, flat head,
smooth black and white breast. And in spite of their knob heads
and lack of bills, the two stick-ups, No. 93 and No. 9 6 A, have
a bird-like quality very modern in spirit.
The majority however are more realistic. The curved bodies
of some of the larger birds appear to sail slowly, their pointed tails
DECOY BIRDS 65
rising slanting from the water like the keel of a ship. This is
noticeable in the Canada goose decoy, No. 76, and the black goose
in the group numbered 98. The maker of the wild white swan,
No. 88, has caught the aloof elegance associated with the swan.
The pose of the white winged coot, No. 87, is decorative, his bill
resting on his breast and giving a graceful arch to his neck. The
bodies of some of the ducks are squat and comfortable, their heads
drawn back and breasts pushing easily ahead; others have a com-
pact, torpedo-like form. Most of them have the effect of effortless
gliding, though No. 81, No. 82 and No. 83, are straining for-
ward. One of the loveliest of all is the brown sheldrake, No. 83,
almost Japanese in feeling, its slender head shot forward, a quick,
darting motion in its body. No. 8 1 has some of this quality, and
its smooth, gleaming surface and mellow colors are particularly
pleasing; likewise No. 80.
Two miniature ducks, No. 107, on small oval wood bases,
merit attention. Delicate lines of dashes indicate their feathers
and give a wet look to their simple but perfect greenish bodies.
It is significant that these birds are made purely for utilitarian
purposes by plain working people. They are one of the few forms
of our folk expression which has survived the machine age, for
though factories have taken up their manufacture for large sport-
ing goods stores, many isolated whittlers still continue to carve
them. As free from self consciousness as the birds they copy, they
often attain by their sensitive response to action they have watched
so often, results which many a modern sculptor would justly
Wood decoys are now also used in France, and to some extent
66 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
CATALOG OF DECOY BIRDS
From the Joel Barber Collection:
75. Sleeping black duck. Connecticut coast. Lent by Tom
Davis. See illustration.
76. Typical Canada goose decoy. Barnegat Bay, N. J. White
77. Brant drake. Barnegat Bay, N. J.
78. Black duck. Barnegat Bay, N. J. Maker's own model for
79. Very old black duck. Barnegat Bay, N. J. Body designed
to receive bird skin.
80. Pin tail drake. Delaware Bay. Courtesy of John Blair, Jr.
81. Sheldrake. Great South Bay. Late fall plumage. Pine-
82. Labrador gull. Copague, Long Island. Used in spring
brant shooting. Anchored with decoys as additional sign
83. Swimming sheldrake. Great South Bay. Cedar head.
84. Sheldrake. Great South Bay. Wing coverts.
85. Ruddy duck. In original condition.
86. Eider duck. Monhegan Island, Me. Male plumage.
87. White winged coot. Monhegan Island, Me. Deep sea decoy.
88. Wild swan. Havre de Grace, Md. A very rare example of
an old swan decoy. See illustration.
89. Yellowlegs. Snipe. Bayhead, N. J.
90. Yellowlegs. Snipe. Made in Newark for use on the Jersey
91. Snipe. Made at Canarsie, L. I., for use on Jamaica Bay.
Courtesy of Capt. John Whitaker.
DECOY BIRDS 67
92. Spike bill curlew. Charleston, S. C. Old decoy found
under unoccupied house on island off Charleston.
93. Oversize yellowlegs. Snipe. Great South Bay. Courtesy
of Percy Cushing.
94. Sheldrake. N.J.
95. Sea loon. Coast of Maine. See illustration.
96. Eight decoy heads.
96A. Yellowlegs. Snipe. Nantucket, Mass.
97. Black breasted plover. Lent by M. A. Chase.
98. Six decoy ducks. Lent by M. A. Chase.
99. Snipe decoy and small bird. Lent by M. A. Chase.
1 00. Female broadbill. Lent by Wood Gaylor.
101. Black mallard. Factory made. Lent by Stefan Hirsch.
102. Plover. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery.
103. Decoy bird. Lent by Holger Cahill.
104. Eider duck. Male plumage. Nova Scotia. Lent by Miss
1 05. Alleged weather vane. Probably used as stick-up for plum-
age hunters. Lent by Mrs. Edith G. Halpert. See illustra-
1 06. Loon with silver tail. Head and neck made from root. From
a private collection. See illustration.
107. Two miniature ducks. From a private collection.
108. Two ducks and one swan. Lent by Holger Cahill.
109. Three ducks. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery.
68 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
The few toys here exhibited are of a simple type. They are the
work of the German settlers of Pennsylvania, who had made toys
in the old country, and of the wood carvers of New England vil-
lages who, as they gradually grew away from Puritan intolerance,
found in the making of sleds, rocking horses, dancing dolls and
carts, a remunerative sideline. Many of the Noah's Arks and
dancing dolls are attributed to negroes. On some toys much time
and care were lavished. One Noah's Ark in this country holds
fifty-five animals, including insects, butterflies and lady bugs.
High-minded parents sometimes gave their children special "Sun-
day Toys" intended to drive home an appropriate moral to sen-
sitive young minds. The Essex Institute in Salem has a delight-
ful collection of more finished early toys.
CATALOG OF TOYS
110. Part of a set of ninepins. From Pennsylvania. LentbyHol-
Caricatures. All have self-satisfied smirk which would make their many
undignified falls look unexpected and ridiculous.
111. Small negro doll. From a private collection.
112. Hobby horse rocker. Found near Bangor, Maine. Lent by
Two red silhouette horses with high-backed seat between. Small formal
heads turned slightly outwards, arched necks wide at base. Plain round
legs set at jaunty angle to haughtily held bodies. Flare of rockers good
culmination for design. Paint entirely rubbed from heads by small
hands which have clutched them.
113. Jointed negro doll. From Pennsylvania. Lent by Holger
Possibly carved by a negro. Good portrayal of negro type in smooth,
round head, squat features, white eyeballs, heavy lips. Square shoulders,
broad chest, stiff torso but joints so flexible that he seems about to break
into a dance. Worn toes of boots bear witness to hard use.
114. Revolutionary soldier. Lent by the American Folk Art
Delightful caricature of pompous type. Arched brows over large black
eyes set in still larger whites give worried, tired look. From side, reced-
ing gums make profile insignificant. Effort to look military, with rigid
carriage and chin pulled in, is made ridiculous by coat collar standing out
from neck in back, and foolish looking plume on top of hat. Holds
sword in one of straight, thin, swinging arms. Incongruity of staring,
wistful expression and immobile manly pose must have been the more
amusing when arms were in motion. Mellow color, smooth surface.
Stands on drum-like base.
115. Balancing man. Lent by Holger Cahill.
Takes performance seriously. Fully conscious of dignity in stovepipe
hat and black coat. Crude torso, with tiny stumps, stands on gilded
pedestal which gives illusion of long legs. When mounted, bows stiffly
116. Jumping toy. From a private collection.
117. Hobby horse. From Doylestown, Pa. Lent by Mrs. Edith
Painted red with streaks of black to suggest hair. Spirited mount. Brass
thumb tack in center of each perfectly round eye gives wild expression;
large nostrils snorting, and mouth open as if champing at bit. Good
curve to neck, flat legs conventionalized to suggest shape of horses'.
From front, narrow face with black spots around eyes, and folded
leather ears sticking out sideways, looks positively furious. Braced as if
about to express emotions in hearty kick with one of stiff legs. Painted
mane, thin hair tail. English saddle with real stirrups. Greenish black
platform and rockers.
118. Hobby horse. From Pottstown, Pa. Lent by the American
Folk Art Gallery.
Built on same general style as red hobby, but cruder with less definite
shapes. Long, narrow body stained tan with circular touches of red,
yellow and green on saddle and horse alike. Sleepy, almond-shaped eyes,
leather ears missing, closed mouth drooping, legs similar to those of
No. 1 1 7 but less determined. Limp forelock. Resigned attitude of relia-
ble and willing but very tired horse. Remains of carpet cloth saddle with
high wood ends. Grey hair tail.
119. Hobby horse. From Ephrata, Pa. Lent by Holger Cahill.
Probably made by a chair-maker. Least attempt at realism. Black, log-
shaped body put together with wooden pegs, simple turned chair legs
with stretcher. Towering neck must have given great sense of security
to rider. Short head with deep curving cheekbone and thin throat.
Planes of head simply carved. Joining of neck to body interesting.
Placing of legs near together, with body extending on either side gives
pitching motion. From front, angular effect, with white streak on nose
in otherwise black figure, tall column of neck and round cross section of
body suggests African carving. Leather ears. Hole at back probably once
AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
Hobby horse. Lent by Mrs. Elie Nadelman.
Gay, compact hobby, spatter painted. Jaunty head and tail added to
solid pieces which form body and rockers. Though legs not represented,
crisply curving ends of rockers give impression of great activity. Thin,
bird-like face almost smiling, protruding eyes, short ears. Solid, flaring,
shortly cropped wood tail. Sides worn where feet of former riders have
rested on wood peg stirrups.
Jointed horse. Lent by Mrs. G. H. Wilde.
Friendly but wary. Legs move like those of metal horses. From front,
wide, determined mouth suggests stubborn moments.
121 A. Punch and Judy. Jumping toy. Found in Freehold, N. J.
Lent by Mrs. R. E. Tomlinson.
WORK IN METAL
Iron furnaces were established in most of the colonies soon after
their settlement. Governor Winthrop was interested in the first
in Massachusetts; in Pennsylvania the work received its first im-
petus under William Penn; and in Virginia, Governor Spotswood,
and Augustine Washington, father of the General, were connected
with the industry. Forges were generally located near the fur-
naces. And throughout the colonies, the smith who wrought the
products of the furnaces into useful shapes, was an invaluable and
respected member of every community.
Objects were both wrought and cast in iron, and fine examples
of andirons, candlesticks, knockers and hinges were turned out by
the local artisans. Pieces made from sheet iron could be cut or
wrought into the desired shape by the smith, and the silhouetted
weather vanes were probably made by him. Figures were cast in
the round by the sand mold process which is still in use in foun-
dries today. For the molds original patterns had to be carved in
Almost nothing is known about pattern carvers. In the case of
the Pennsylvania German stoveplates, see Contents for section on
Stove Plates, it has been found that pattern carvers from Germany
sometimes settled here to do the work, and that one carver would
sell patterns to different furnaces. It is to these anonymous carvers
however, that we owe the vigorous designs of these cast iron
weather vanes and other figures.
Many weather vanes were made in the 1 9th century from sheet
metal. Some like the gull, No. 1 23, the pigeon, No. 133, the crow-
ing cock, No. 136, and Liberty, No. 137, were hammered by
copper- or tinsmiths. The first three mentioned were made of
small pieces soldered together. When many of the same type were
desired, dies were made from a wood pattern, and the main body
of the vanes stamped out and soldered together. Finishing touches
were added by hand. When, for the sake of balance, it was neces-
11 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
sary to make animals' heads in iron or lead, the head was cut from
the original wood pattern and sent to a foundry to be cast. When
Currier and Ives were publishing prints of famous racing horses,
makers of weather vanes copied horses from the prints. Some of
them were so like their live models that enthusiastic horsemen
could recognize them. The manufacturer sometimes added jockeys
and sulkies. No. 135, No. 140, and No. 146 were made from
Currier and Ives prints.
Large deer and lions so prevalent in Victorian gardens were not
included in the exhibit since most of them were made in England.
Eberlein and McClure, in the introduction to their Practical
Book of Early American Arts and Crafts, state that every part of
this country settled before the third decade of the 1 9th century had
some share in the early craft development, which gave it cause for
proper local pride. And that this work, being of the people and
for them, is truly a folk art. The anonymous smiths and pattern
makers who designed metal figures, like the makers of decoys,
interpreted animals in a variety of ways, according to their
medium, their individual aptness in handling it, their sensitive-
ness, and their contact with outside influences. Some of the ani-
mals they made are quiet, in characteristic poses; others are full of
motion. Some are silhouettes, some in low relief, and others
round. Regardless of the skill which went into their making, they
have in common a feeling of freedom, as if they belonged in the
wind and the sun, and a sturdiness which would be undisturbed
by snow and rain. Their makers showed a sense of fitness in their
choice of subject, and, like the carvers of figureheads though less
assuming, they were no doubt spurred on to do a lively piece of
work by the thought of its final commanding position against the
James Truslow Adams, discussing the art of the colonies in his
Provincial Society, points out that though in the early days
there were perhaps fewer flowers at the top, the roots were prob-
ably deeper in the soil than they are today, and he goes on to
No. 12 2. WEATHER VANE. HORSE
Cast Iron. Height. 18 inches
No. 124. WEATHER VANE. HORSE AND JOCKEY
Stamped copper. Height. \7 l /2 inches
METAL WEATHER VANES 77
remark on the vitality of any movement which has its roots in the
life of the common people. These simple 1 9th century weather
vanes are an example of that vitality still holding its own in out
of the way places while the fine arts were beginning to flourish
in the cities.
CATALOG OF METAL WEATHER VANES
122. Formal horse. Cast iron. From a private collection. See
Outstanding figure with strong sculptural feeling; has been compared to
work of Chinese. Pompous, controlled grace. Fine rounded neck, head
drawn in, short ears up, straight mane and forelock in relief, wide nerv-
ous eyes, very round nostrils. One foreleg lifted high. Tail broken off.
Unlike many modern stylized animals, with strained tightness in their
affected poses, this horse gains rather than loses in dignity by the for-
mality of his pose. Cast from same mold as No. 133. Both found near
123. Gull. Hammered tin. From a private collection.
Vivid, realistic interpretation of bird just alighting. Neck turned, power-
ful wings half spread, tail down, in effort to balance body on small ball.
Squawking. Made from many small pieces soldered together.
1 24. Horse and jockey. Stamped copper. From a private col-
lection. See illustration.
Strong, exciting representation of racer. Head straining forward, ears
laid down, both front legs leaping in air, tail flying. Jockey riding as
if part of horse; standing in short stirrups of light racing saddle, he grips
horse with legs and holds reins high, urging him on. Horse rounder and
more sculptural than many sheet metal figures. No superfluous detail;
eyes and ears only suggested; adds to impression of speed and tenseness.
Pose with both hind legs on ground, not realistic like those of other
horses, but creates effect of shooting ahead with no waste motion.
125. Horse with flowing tail. Front half cast. Back stamped.
From a private collection.
Sharp, simple stylization of jaw and mane. Thin legs, restrained motion,
lighter feeling than cast iron horses. No. 1 22 and No. 1 34. Curves more
crisp, flatter body. Wide, flat tail with jagged lines to indicate wavy hair,
126. Cow. Head cast. Body stamped. From a private collection.
Good head, patient and calm. Fine horns and tail. Short legs. Delicate
modeling of body, thin at throat, soft and fuller at sides. Relaxed curves.
Remarkable contrast in spirit between repose of cow, head hanging for-
ward, body sagging, and certain tenseness in heads and bodies of alt of
78 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
127. Formal rooster. Painted iron. Evidently cast from the same
mold as No. 142. From a private collection.
Proud chest, one foot lifted formally. Interesting stylization of short
rounded comb, breast and wing feathers. Large tail, cut from flat piece,
1 28. Gabriel blowing his trumpet. A similar iron weather vane,
from the Baptist Church in Whitney, Vt., was reproduced
in Antiques for December 1930. From a private collection.
Heavy iron silhouette, crude, almost violently energetic. Flies as if
swimming through air in hot pursuit, one foot kicking high. Rugged
features. Wears only crenelated crown and wings. One hand holds long
trumpet which he blows, other, large and threatening, points ahead.
129. Reindeer. Iron. From Pennsylvania. From a private col-
Simple silhouette. Modern in style. Head held high and drawn back,
great horns like long branch. Short tail curving forward. Stiff legs with
no suggestion of ground below, as if leaping through air. Reindeer
always popular in German decoration.
130. Indian. Iron. From Pennsylvania. From a private collec-
Silhouette. Lunging forward, drawing his bow. Large feather head-
131. Pheasant. Iron. From Blue Mountain, Pa. From a private
collection. See illustration.
Silhouette with flowing outline. Sharp head, open beak, lobe shaped
body, glorious sweep to tail, drooping feathers of which are separate
pieces attached. Large pierced hole for eye. Wood farmer, No. 21,
formerly rode astride him.
132. Mercury. Early iron weather vane from Newburyport,
Mass. Lent by the Boston Antique Shop.
Silhouette, heavily painted. Small head, long body, little motion though
one foot raised. Winged hat, wavy hair showing below. Carries usual
purse in one hand and caduceous in other.
133. Pigeon. Hammered copper. Lent by the American Folk
Erect, buoyant. Small pointed head held high, wings raised, wide flat
tail, knees snapped back, proudly poised. Separate devices indicate breast,
wing and tail feathers. Large, decorative arrow below.
METAL WEATHER VANES 79
134. Horse. Cast iron. Evidently from same mold as No. 122.
Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery.
Flowing tail cut from flat iron.
135. Horse and sulky. Stamped and gilded. From a private col-
Horse has iron head, small for body. Jagged mane blowing, eyes bright,
mouth a little open. Neck long for body giving impression of energy;
slight turn of head suggests swaying motion of fast trotting horse. Hind
quarters lower than front as if from pull of cart. Straight thin jockey
with iron head and stamped metal body. Holds rein and whip. Wire
spokes and carriage rods. Horse copied from Currier and Ives print of
race-horse Ethan Allen.
136. Crowing cock. Hammered copper. From Monmouth
County, N. J. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery.
Head thrust out, beak wide open showing tongue, wings raised, whole
body straining forward. Flat, cut-out comb, wattle and tail. Back of
arrow ribbed in manner similar to arched tail and comb. Decorative
stylization of feathers. Stiff legs.
137. Liberty. Hammered metal. Evidently adapted from Bar-
tholdi's statue. Found in the Penobscot Valley, Me. Lent
by the American Folk Art Gallery.
Long, sharp, sad profile: questioning, arched brow; drooping eye.
Uplifted right arm bears torch with blowing flame. Crown with high
jutting points. Simple folds of ample draperies reach to ground with
little suggestion of motion. A still and quite dignified figure, not heavy
in spite of voluminous garment.
1 38. Small iron horse. From the valley of the Potomac. Lent by
the American Folk Art Gallery.
Lovely, formal silhouette. Graceful arch to long neck, tiny pierced hole
for eye, one foreleg raised, other stiff and extended with knee snapped
back as if daintily pawing the ground. Beautifully curved back.
139. Painted iron locomotive. Lent by the American Folk Art
Silhouette. Probably from a railroad station. Makes decorative pattern
with clear-cut outline of stack, whistles and bell, lightened by open spaces
of windows of engineer's cab. lower spokes of wheels and bars of cow-
140. Horse and sulky. Stamped and gilded. Lent by the Ameri-
can Folk Art Gallery.
Horse similar to No. 146. Both small adaptations of Currier and Ives
print of horse Ethan Allen, known to weather vane trade as Ethan Allen
Jr. Small iron head high, body erect, mane and tail flying. Light and
80 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
swift. Space between hoofs and bar of vane give appearance of hardly
touching ground over which he is dashing. Jockey, with sidewhiskers
and short jacket more jaunty than No. 135, looks as if thoroughly enjoy-
ing himself. Unfinished inside of legs shows how sheet metal figures
look before being soldered together.
141. Cow. Stamped and slightly gilded. Lent by Stefan Hirsch.
Smaller and flatter and head a little lower than No. 126 but like it in
relaxed lines, short legs, stillness and self-sufficiency. Gold leaf almost
142. Formal rooster. Painted iron. Evidently from same mold
as No. 127. Lent by C. A. Rogers.
143. Large iron horse. From Pennsylvania. Lent by C. A.
Silhouette. Continuous flowing rhythm in outline. Heavy grace. Jog-
ging carefully. High arch to neck and powerful hind quarters.
144. Very small horse. Tin. Found in Pennsylvania. Lent by
C. A. Rogers.
Silhouette. Heavy body, thin legs, nose in, flying mane, bushy tail.
Sharp outline of mane and barb of arrow similar.
145. Tan and black horse. Painted iron. Lent by C. A. Rogers.
Silhouette. Simple, childlike version. Heavy type but not awkward.
Mane and tail and hoofs painted black.
146. Trotting horse. Cast lead head, stamped copper body. Lent
by Albert Duveen.
Like No. 140, known as Ethan Allen Jr. Light, sure, quick. Neck high,
held back, keen eye, mane and tail blowing. Far legs doubled well under.
Distance above rod adds to effect of briskness.
147. Grey horse. Stamped from die made about fifty years ago.
From Rockland, Me. Lent by Mrs. B. K. Goldsmith.
More sculptural feeling in this and No. 124 than in other sheet metal
figures. Long legs, motion in every part of body, though looser and less
controlled than No. 146. Large, realistic lead head, straining forward.
Exaggerated length of hind leg and tail; hind quarters lower than front,
increase illusion of effort. From front and back, curves of body suggest
slight sideward swing in gait of large trotting horse.
MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTS 81
CATALOG OF MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTS
148. George Washington. Cast iron garden figure. From a pri-
Cast in two pieces. Wears toga over late 1 8th century costume, of which
shoulder and arm are shown. Part concession to classical tradition of
clothing in Roman garb statues of statesmen. Aloof expression, set
mouth, haughty bearing. Scroll in one hand; other holds toga in place.
Drapery well done; thin, flat and simple. A youthful, cast iron figure
of Martha Washington has been seen in a garden with a figure from
same mold as this.
149. Dog's head. Cast iron hitching post. From a private col-
Glum. Nose distinctly divided from mouth gives almost human look.
Contour of soft, rounded back and chest, neck and chin stuck sadly for-
ward, more human than canine.
150. Horse's head. Cast iron hitching post. Lent by the Ameri-
can Folk Art Gallery.
Spirited head with solid feeling. Quite stylized. Large, round eyes,
powerful, erect neck wide at base, waving mane parted and hanging on
both sides. Short, alert ears, snorting nostrils with ring in each.
151. Horse's head. Cast iron hitching post. From a private col-
Less stylized than No. 150. Slight arch of neck, curving in at base.
152. Small horse. Cast iron doorstop. Lent by C. A. Rogers.
Cast in single mold. Realistic.
153. Duck. Painted cast iron garden ornament. From a private
154. Striding man. Brass doorstop. From Pennsylvania. From
a private collection.
Vigorous figure. Handle above hat.
155. Painted cast iron pigeon. From Pennsylvania. Architec-
tural ornament for fences or houses. From a private collec-
156. Pair of cast iron pigeons. From Pennsylvania. Architec-
tural ornaments. From a private collection.
82 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
157. Horse. Cast in brass for bootblack stand. Lent by Wood
Much simplified; fine decorative feeling without being stilted. Remark-
ably like an early Greek horse of bronze in Metropolitan Museum. Only
three legs shown and no superfluous details. Slow, forward pushing
motion. Dignified, alert, reserved; simple, branch-life form rising from
back and holding foot rest does not detract from figure of horse.
158. Horse. Cast in iron for bootblack stand. Found in Newark.
Lent by Miss Margaret Jarden.
Almost identical with No. 157, but slight variation in molds. This one
has mane, tail made in one piece with body, and foreleg which touches
ground is thinner and less scroll-like.
159. Devil bootjack. Cast in brass. Found in Massachusetts.
From a private collection.
Simplest, flat, curving outline forms. Tall horns shaped like horseshoe to
grasp heels of boots. Diabolic smile, hands on hips, toes out. Sprightly
figure, suggestive of African in vigorous simplicity and conventional-
ization of forms. Perhaps the surprising presence of such a personage in
New England, where he was shunned with such zeal, may be accounted
for by the fact that he would have to be stepped on every time he was
160. Lady cookie mold. Tin. Found in Pennsylvania. Lent by
Germans have the art of pleasing children. The custom of celebrating
Christmas with a lighted fir tree, now the most joyfully anticipated sight
of the year for children, is said to have been introduced into this country
by Hessian soldiers during the Revolution. The name Kindergarten is
still retained for the promising introduction to school life developed by
sympathetic German educators. Youngsters the world over have been
made happy with German toys. And with characteristic kindliness
housewives often took pains to bake cookies in humorous and fantastic
shapes, as delightful to imaginations as to palates.
161. Horse cookie mold. Tin. From Pennsylvania. From a
162. Thirteen small cut-out tin patterns. From Pennsylvania.
Lent by Holger Cahill.
Possibly patterns for backs of cookie molds. Man, baby, bunny, flowers,
cheerful looking birds with large round eyes, dogs and horses with
turned up noses and wide, curving legs.
162A. Two tin silhouette birds. Lent by M. A. Chase.
WORK IN METAL 83
Fire-marks arc emblems of identification for insured buildings,
first used in England in the late 1 7th century, and in the United
States in 1752.
In the 17th and 18th centuries there were no municipal fire
companies in England. When the idea of forming fire insurance
companies first came into use, each insurance company employed
its own brigade of firemen. Since these companies were interested
in protecting only the houses insured by them, each had its own
insignia which it attached to the fronts of insured houses. If fire-
men arrived at a burning house not marked with the insignia of
their company, it is said that they returned calmly to their other
duties, leaving the house to the mercy of others.
In America the first fire companies were made up of volunteer
citizens. Insurance companies often had a favorite fire brigade to
whose support they contributed and whose members were there-
fore anxious to cooperate with them.
The first American fire insurance company, of which Benjamin
Franklin was one of the founders, was called "The Philadelphia
Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire".
It is still in existence. Because of its insignia, see No. 1 63, it became
popularly known as the "Hand in Hand". When, in 1784, this
company decided to insure no houses with trees close by, some of
the citizens resigned in indignation and formed a new company.
They took for their symbol a green tree. Early plates from this
company, in which a lead tree is mounted on a wood shield, and
later ones made of cast iron, are shown in the exhibition.
The custom of using plates was continued by some of the old
companies well into the 1 9th century.
CATALOG OF FIRE-MARKS
163. The Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of
Houses from Loss by Fire. Popularly known as the "Hand
in Hand". America's first insurance company, established
84 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
in 1752 and still in existence. 18th century mark, lead on
wood. Lent by Harrold E. Gillingham.
164. The Fire Association of Philadelphia. Incorporated in 1820
and still in business. Lent by Harrold E. Gillingham.
165. The Baltimore Equitable Society. Established April 1794.
Iron plate about 1839. Lent by the Free Library of Phila-
166. The Firemen's Insurance Company of Baltimore. Estab-
lished in 1826. 19th century mark. Lent by the Free Li-
brary of Philadelphia.
167. Firemen's Insurance Company of Pittsburg. Established in
1834. Discontinued after great fire in 1845. From house
built in 1 840. Lent by the Free Library of Philadelphia.
168. Associated Firemen's Insurance Company of the City of
Pittsburg. Established in 1850. A unique cast iron figure.
Broken when removed from wall and mounted on wood to
preserve. Only American mark showing fireman. Lent by
the Free Library of Philadelphia.
169. Penn Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburg. Lent by the
Free Library of Philadelphia.
1 70. United Firemen's Insurance Company of Philadelphia. Es-
tablished in 1860. Lent by the Free Library of Philadel-
171. Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia. Established
in 1784. Mark known as the "green tree". Lead on oval
wood shield. Lent by the Pennsylvania Museum.
172. Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia. Established
in 1784. Mark known as the "green tree". Lead on wood
shield. Shield not original. Lent by the American Folk
173. United Firemen's Insurance Company of Philadelphia.
Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery.
1 74. Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia. Established
in 1784. Mark of the "green tree". Cast iron. Lent by
WORK IN METAL 85
IRON STOVE PLATES
These rectangular cast iron plates, generally about two feet square,
formed parts of the first house-warming stoves used in this coun-
try, similar to a type prevalent in northern Europe in the 17th
century. The first were no doubt brought here by the Germans
who came to Pennsylvania to escape religious persecution early in
the 18th century. They were made in several furnaces in Penn-
sylvania, and possibly in New Jersey, until about 1760; but since
the English preferred the sight of the open fire, their use seems to
have been confined to the Germans.
Benjamin Franklin in his fireplace pamphlet of 1 744 describes
them as follows, "The German stove is like a Box, one side want-
ing. 'Tis composed of five iron plates scru'd together and fixed
so that you may put Fuel into it from another room, or from the
Outside of the House. 'Tis a kind of oven reversed, its Mouth
being without, and Body within the Room that is to be warmed
by it . . .". These stoves generally connected with the jamb of the
open kitchen fireplace, so that hot embers from the fire could
easily be thrust in and raked out. They had no smokepipe or
front opening and therefore neither smoke nor sparks could escape
into the room. They must have been raised from the ground on
some kind of legs, at least in front, but whether these legs were
of pottery, iron, or blocks of stone masonry is not known. Later
a six-plate stove with a smoke pipe and front opening was devel-
oped, and since this had a back, it did not have to stand against
the wall. Both types were used only for heating, the open fire-
place in the kitchen being used for cooking.
The front and two sides of each stove were decorated, the top
and bottom plain. Though there were a few allegorical subjects,
the upper panels of almost all of the early plates illustrated Bibli-
cal scenes, and generally the verse from which the scene was taken
was inscribed in lower panel in old German. Sometimes the date
of manufacture also appeared. Staunch followers of the Reforma-
86 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
tion, these first German settlers believed with a child-like faith,
and told their stories with a child's directness and disregard for
superfluous detail. The sincerity of their work makes it appeal-
ing as well as amusing, and in spite of the naivete of conception
and crudeness of drawing, the plates have dramatic spirit and
sound design. There is some difference in the styles of examples
in the exhibit. The Cain and Abel, No. 1 75, is the most delicately
designed. Joseph and Potiphar's wife, No. 181, and the Publican
and the Pharisee, No. 1 79, are both heavily drawn, and all three
are set in a vaulted and curtained background. In the Swarm of
Bees, No. 186, all of the relief work is simply blocked out. These
early pictorial plates are the freshest and most vigorous; after
about 1753 they gradually gave way to a symbolical floral design
which was used almost entirely between 1756 and 1760. The
last record of the making of a five plate stove is dated 1768.
Pennsylvania was originally an English colony, and there
were English ironmasters at the head of most of the early fur-
naces. It is thought that they imported German pattern carvers
to design stoves for the German settlers, similar to those in the
fatherland. The original patterns were carved on wood, gen-
erally in two pieces screwed together. The pattern makers some-
times worked at home, selling their designs to various furnaces.
A survival of a 1 7th century craft, the pictorial work gradually
died out with the passing of the old German pattern carvers and
the new improvements which the foundries offered.
For a long time loose plates had been found in Pennsylvania in
junk heaps or in use, often face downwards, as hearthstones,
doorsteps, stepping stones, firebacks, and it was generally thought
that they had originally been cast as firebacks. The research of
the late Henry Chapman Mercer, who spent years piecing together
information on the subject, finally revealed their original function.
His fine collection is now on exhibit in the Museum at Doyles-
town, Pa., which he founded, and his book, The Bible in Iron,
gives their history and describes all the plates known to him.
WORK IN METAL 87
CATALOG OF STOVE PLATES
175. "Cain Killed his Brother Abel". Dated 1741. Bucks
County. Probably cast at Durham Furnace. Lent by the
Pennsylvania Museum of Art. See illustration.
Delicately drawn. Background of festooned arcade gives effect of stage
setting. Cain and Abel clad like Scottish Highlanders. Tiny figure of
Cain advances ferociously, huge club raised over head in preparation for
terrific blow; Abel comes lightly forward awaiting impact with hands
outspread in resignation or gentle protest. Behind him is tree of Garden
of Eden; below, inscription. Graceful foliated scrolls form border of
scene, and surround cartouche with date in lower section. An Adam and
Eve scene, similar in style and having the same date, was probably carved
by the same mold maker; said to be only other plate so delicately done.
176. The Four Horsemen. About 1760. Lent by the Pennsyl-
vania Museum of Art.
Clearer casting of this plate reveals three angels hovering in the air above
two hills, down which ride two pair of horsemen toward each other.
Dressed in costume of about 1750.
177. "History of Susanna and Daniel". First half of 18th cen-
tury. Lent by the Pennsylvania Museum of Art.
From square house of Susanna's father, at left, winds path to "the fair
garden joining unto his house", described in book of Susanna. Susanna
stands in small round pool, and two bearded elders in flowing robes,
having emerged from hiding place, attack her. On either side are large
trees by means of which the upright young Daniel later proved them
guilty of having maligned the innocent Susanna, when he questioned
them before the assembled people.
178. Decorative plate. About 1760. Cast at the Elizabeth Fur-
nace, Lancaster County, belonging to Henry William Stie-
gel. Lent by the Pennsylvania Museum of Art.
Familiar vaulted canopies of pictorial plates in upper section. Beneath
left arch, fluted circlet enclosing heart and tulip leaves; under left, flower
pots growing tulips, balanced by lozenges and sheaves of wheat. Indi-
vidual motives scattered through field. Central panel bears maker's given
names instead of verse or moral of earlier floral plates. Surname may
have appeared on another side of stove. Name of furnace in lower
Similar designs were made at many furnaces after 1753. Though
tulips and hearts were also used in fractur paintings, significance of this
particular pattern and reason for its repeated use between 1 750 and 1 760
not explained. Floral patterns were more carefully carved than the pic-
torial plates, and were used on both the five and six plate stoves.
Stiegel, about whom many legends exist, is better known as the
maker of some of the finest early American glass.
88 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
179. Publican and Pharisee. 1742. Lent by the Pennsylvania
Museum of Art.
Vaulted canopies and waving curtains above. The Pharisee kneels osten-
tatiously before lighted altar; humble Publican "standing afar off and
not so much as lifting his eyes unto heaven". Above his head printed
name Publican. Essentials, but nothing more. Inscription "The proud
Pharisee glorifies himself in prayer, but the heart of the humble Publican
pleases God much better. Luke, Chapter 18. 1742".
180. Samson and Delilah. 18th century. Lent by the Pennsyl-
vania Museum of Art.
Setting similar to that of Publican and Pharisee but center column divides
two scenes. Right shows Samson when he "took the gates of the city
and the two posts and went away with them, bar and all". Artist has
conscientiously included "bar and all", but Samson here leaves crumbling
column behind. At left buxom Delilah, seated in chair, holds shapeless
mass representing Samson; from behind waving tree a man approaches
stealthily, shears in hand. Inscription "When at last Delilah learned how
to overcome Samson's strength, she brought him to it on her lap. The
book of Judges, 16".
181. Joseph and Potiphar's Wife. 1749. Lent by the Pennsyl-
vania Museum of Art.
Emerging from behind curtains of canopied bed Potiphar's wife grabs
with anger and determination at cloak of departing Joseph, who, clad
also in box coat, knickers, and socks, clutches at mantle with one hand,
while blithely waving other in intended gesture of protest. Square head
facing forward; small feet springing quickly toward doorway, indicated
by column and curtain with large tassel. Jubilance in mien probably to
signify righteous indignation. Inscription "The woman who seeks to
corrupt Joseph. In the first book of Moses, 13th Chapter."
1 82. The Peaceable Kingdom. Lent by Albert Duveen.
Edward Hicks, Quaker preacher, painted several versions of "The
Peaceable Kingdom, an illustration of the Eleventh Chapter of Isaiah and
Embracing All the Animals There Mentioned in the Foreground, and
in the Distance William Penn Treating with the Indians." Plate illus-
trates same subject, without Hicks' addition of William Penn and In-
dians. Panel at top inscribed, "Better time is coming when all war is
ended"; four lines below, worn and dim with age, refer to 6th and 7th
verses of Isaiah XI. Wandering between, with no background, are ani-
mals therein described.
183. Hunter with deer. Lent by Albert Duveen.
Possibly a fireback. Inscription at top, "Here is a hunter on the search."
Below, simple, stiff frieze in which a deer precedes a hunter followed by
dogs. Between figures, small circular devices; under feet of each, a rod-
like line, which, though intended to suggest ground, makes them look
as if on skis.
No. 131. WEATHER VANE. PHEASANT
Iron Silhouette. Length. 30 1 ' inches
STOVE PLATES 91
184. Dance of Death. About 1745. Lent by Albert Duveen.
Theme, representing triumph of death over mankind, appeared in
Europe in many versions during 14th century and thereafter. This said
to have been taken from "Nobleman's Answer to Death" at Basel.
"Here fights with me the bitter death
And brings me in death's stress".
Skeleton holding leg bone in one hand, lays hold of fat knight with coat
like Russian blouse, and 16th century slashed breeches on little legs.
Victim brandishes sword in dispute with helmeted man on right who
gesticulates with his square hands. Scroll work instead of columns at
left and top.
185. Two doves. 1769. Lent by the American Folk Art Gal-
Two birds on scraggy trees, facing each other. Date in cartouche below.
186. The Swarm of Bees. Lent by the American Folk Art Gal-
Unusual since humorous rather than religious. From right three female
figures wearing full square skirts which nearly touch the ground, walk
down a hill, looking upwards and ringing bells. On lower right branch
of tree at foot of hill hangs swarm of bees; on other side, man with cap
and knee-length coat appears to be clapping his mittened hands. Instead
of standing out in relief as in Joseph and Pharisee plates, folds are dug
into the blocked skirts of figures. No date or inscription. Scroll in lower
panel instead of cartouche.
POTTERY AND PLASTER
In the first half of the 19th century ceramic "cottage ornaments"
were fashionable in Europe and America. Small rustic figurines,
animals and sometimes portraits were turned out by the potters
of England, France and Germany, and there was a good market in
this country especially for the English work. When the potteries
growing up in this country attempted figures, they sometimes im-
ported workers from England to do the modeling. Among the
best known for such wares were those at Bennington, Vermont,
which, besides vases, pitchers, Parian figures, and toby jugs, made
animals similar to those from Staffordshire. Makers of slip ware
in Pennsylvania also turned their hand from time to time to the
fashioning of toy roosters, peacocks and animals, frequently in the
form of whistles. The products were sold at the potteries or more
often hawked about by peddlers, traveling in carts or on foot.
Less known than the products of any of these potteries is the
cruder, thin plaster or "chalk" ware of the Pennsylvania Ger-
mans. Made between the fifties and seventies, the figures generally
followed closely the Staffordshire designs which they imitated.
The majority represented familiar animals — deer, cats, dogs,
horses, squirrels, roosters, doves and lovebirds. For more pre-
tentious homes, vases with stiff leaves, and urns of fruit were
made. Rustic figurines and healthy angels were also popular.
There were a few large white churches with windows of sheer
colored paper, through which the light of candles shone at Christ-
mas. Small arched shrines with an angel kneeling under the arch
had a round opening at the top in which a watch could be hung.
Portrait busts were rarest.
Like the pottery and practical household wares, these figures
were hawked about by the shrewd and humorous Yankee peddler.
Old residents of South Jersey remember seeing these peddlers
going from door to door carrying trays filled with gaily colored
94 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
birds, cats and dogs. Others say that the men sometimes brought
molds with them so that the housewife might make her choice and
then see the figure cast and painted while she waited.
Many of the plaster figures were not entirely covered with color
but only touched with a few daubs of bright paint, and animals
cast from the same mold appear in a variety of colors. The sim-
plified stylization of some of the animals, especially the deer, cats
and roosters, makes them seem modern. The animals have more
vitality than the human and heavenly beings who, though pleas-
ant enough, tend in attitude and expression toward the soft and
The deer were often made in pairs, generally lying on the
ground with one foreleg gracefully arched as if in alert readiness
to move on. They have large spiky horns, and large splashes of
black on their noses. The smaller ones are dainty, with a superior
and supercilious air; the light tan pair and the white one, No. 191.
illus., are especially good in this group. The roosters, splen-
didly colored in red, yellow and green, look chunky because of
extra material left around their legs, No. 190, illus. The squir-
rels sit up contentedly crunching nuts, their handsome tails curv-
ing above their heads. The chests of rabbits are sometimes em-
blazoned with green, red and gold; their backs left white, No.
190, illus. There is a tendency to sentimentalize in the case of
the two horses which are extremely gentle and graceful. Poodles
and spaniels, popular in the fifties, are the dogs most frequently
represented; the least realistic ones are the most successful. The
lovebirds are generally bright yellow. Though varied in color
and personality, the sleek cats are all in a similar pose, their thin
legs close together in front, black tails curling over comfortable,
rounded haunches. The large creamy one with black spots has
an orange ribbon around her neck matching the inside of her ears,
and twenty toes with black nails have been carefully represented.
There is a Chinese slant to her eyes, but in a quiet way she is an
imposing looking creature. The expression of the small white
POTTERY AND PLASTER ORNAMENTS 95
cat whose long eyebrows give her a wise and smug look explains
why a certain type of narrow minded human has been named after
Among the religious figures the most appealing is the amiable,
earnest little angel who, on one knee, her hands tightly clasped,
peers up with a frightened look, No. 190, illus. The tall lady
with the white mantle, bare feet and bowler hat cocked at a
rakish angle, is a candleholder, No. 191, illus. The girl with
pantalettes, and the seated boy with the dove are reminiscent of
the pastoral scenes of contemporary velvet paintings.
The portrait bust of a young officer is the most finished piece.
With thick black hair brushed back, highly arched brows, eyelids
drooping in a blase manner, and uniform emblazoned with full
regalia, he was no doubt a dandy, and well pleased with himself.
Though most of this work was done by the Germans of Penn-
sylvania, others are known to have made plaster figures. Very
similar figures have been found only near Waldoboro, Maine, also
settled by Germans. Italians from Lucca are said to have peddled
plaster busts of famous people, in New York and Philadelphia.
And in Boston in 1768, one Henry Christian Geyer, stonecutter,
advertised that he had opened a shop where he practiced the "Art
of Fuser Simulacrorum or making of all sorts of curious animals
of Plaster of Paris", and two years later he had added to his stock
"all sorts of images in Plaster of Paris including King George,
Queen Charlotte, Milton, Homer . . ." etc.
The chalk ware of the Pennsylvania Germans was the cheapest
available form of ornament. It is thought that the largest piece
hardly came to the price of a Staffordshire figure, and the small
animals sold for fifteen or twenty-five cents. In homes where
English porcelain was a luxury beyond reach, the housewife could
yield to her weakness for bright touches of color without seriously
affecting the family finances.
Good collections of this ware are owned by Mr. and Mrs. Elie
96 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
Nadelman of Riverdale-on-Hudson, and Mrs. Robert W.
De Forest of New York City.
CATALOG OF POTTERY FIGURES
187. Whistle. Figure of a peacock. Pennsylvania German slip
ware, late 18th century. Possibly by John Nase. Lent by
the Pennsylvania Museum of Art.
188. Lion. Pennsylvania German, early 19th century. Possibly
by John Nase. Lent by the Pennsylvania Museum of Art.
189. Cock and hen. Late 18th century. Pennsylvania German.
Lent by the Pennsylvania Museum of Art.
CATALOG OF PLASTER OR CHALK WARE
1 90. Seventeen figures. Lent by Mrs. O. N. Steelman. See illus-
191. Six figures. From a private collection. See illustration.
192. Four figures. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery.
193. Two figures. Lent by Holger Cahill.
A NOTE ON STONE CARVING
The local stonecutters of the last two decades of the 1 7th century
and first half of the 18th, lavished great effort on the carving of
gravestones; in the old churchyards and burying grounds of the
east, fine examples of their art may still be seen. The tops of the
flat stones are adorned with relief carvings of lively cherubs, skulls
and crossbones, hour glasses and other symbols of death, and
coats of arms; the sides often have wide and elaborate floral bor-
ders. The lettering of the quaint epitaphs is often excellent.
Towards the middle of the 18th century the carvers sometimes
substituted the face of the deceased for the customary cherub's
head, and from then on many scattered portraits were made. They
are more apt to appear in country graveyards than in the city. And,
since then as now, people were wont to imitate the habits of their
neighbors, if one portrait is found in a burying ground there are
generally more. It is known that William Codner, a stonecutter
who worked around Boston in the middle of the 1 8th century,
did some portrait work, though he excelled in the more conven-
tional versions of the victory of death over life. The Park family
who came from Scotland about this time, carved some of the best
Continuing the tradition of the cherubs, human heads were
sometimes fitted into feathered necks and wings. Frequently how-
ever their own costumes were shown. Some reverend gentlemen
wear ecclesiastical robes, and their long hair is beautifully curled.
The men often lack necks, the resulting hunched effect of their
shoulders emphasizing the intensity of their faces. Each of three
stones in Plymouth represents the deceased, dressed in the cos-
tume of the day, emerging from a tomb shaped like a chimney
top. The faces of the men are generally very round and solemn.
One charming girl in Salem wears a locket and a close fitting dress,
her long hair hanging over her shoulders; and the carver has done
his best to give her a winsome smile.
98 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
Mrs. Harriette M. Forbes, who has made a thorough study of
the subject, and from whose well illustrated article, Early Por-
trait Sculpture in New England, these notes are taken, has
kindly lent from her collection, thirty photographs of old grave-
stones, many of them showing portrait work. Among her pic-
tures, the profile of Mrs. Sarah Wier, and the four sons of Mr.
Appleton and Mrs. Lydia Holme are outstanding for their
dignity. Others show Adam and Eve, symbols of death, an excel-
lent ship, and a person who may be God reaching out and calm-
ing turbulent waves. Though the portrait work is crude, it reflects
earnest effort and patient labor, and frequently a fertile imagina-
tion on the part of these early carvers, and, once again, a simple,
robust vitality characteristic of so much unsophisticated work.
No. 175. STOVE PLATE. CAIN AND ABEL
Cast Iron. Height, 27 inches; width, 26 inches
CHALK WARE FIGURES. 3 FROM No. 190; 2 FROM No. 191
Angel, Lady. Heights, 7} 2 and 16J: inches.
Rooster. Rabbit. Deer. Heights. 6' 4 . 5 ' 4 and 10J: inches.
Books and periodical articles selected by the Newark Museum and
The Public Library of Newark, New Jersey.
AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE: GENERAL
American folk art. By Holger Cahill. American Mercury, Sept.
1931, Vol. 24, pp. 39-46
Practical book of early American arts and crafts. By H. D. Eber-
lein and Abbot McClure. Lippincott, 1916 740.1 Eb3
Chap. 4 Decorative metalwork: Iron, brass, copper, lead, and tin. Weather
vanes, stoveplates, fire-marks.
Chap. 14 Early American wood and stone carving
Beginnings of sculpture in colonial America. By Fiske Kimball.
Art and Archaeology, June 1919, Vol. 8, pp. 185-189
Earliest sculpture imported to this country and first well-known American
Collection of papers read before the Bucks County Historical
Society, Vol. 4. Pub. for the Society by Frackenthal Publica-
tion Fund, 1917. 4 V. 974.3 B85R
A few papers on Pennsylvania German pottery and stoveplates
The Red Hills. A record of good days outdoors and in, with
things Pennsylvania Dutch by Cornelius Weygandt. Univer-
sity of Pennsylvania Press. 1929 700 W54
WOOD CARVING AND WOOD CARVERS
Nadelman ship figureheads. International Studio, Sept. 1929,
Vol. 94, pp. 51-53
Figureheads of the old Square-riggers; a unique set of photo-
graphs by Edith S. Watson with explanatory text by Victoria
Hayward. Century, Aug. 1916, Vol. 92, pp. 566-573
Old sea wings, ways and words in the days of oak and hemp. By
R. C. Leslie. Chapman & Hall, 1890 699 L56
English. Chaps. 10 and 1 1, brief history of figureheads
104 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
Old ship figureheads and sterns. By L. G. C. Laughton. Halton,
English, well illustrated
Drowne's wooden image. By Nathaniel Hawthorne. Bound
with his Mosses from an Old Manse. Houghton, 1889
Story of a figurehead maker
Smile of fortune. By Joseph Conrad. In his Twixt Land and
Sea. Doubleday, 1912
Illustrates sentiment of captain toward figurehead
CIGAR STORE FIGURES
Passing of the wooden Indian. By J. L. Morrison. Scribner's
Magazine, Oct. 1928, Vol. 84, pp. 393-405
Tobacconists' tribe of treen. By L. F. Jessup. Antiques, Sept.
1930, Vol. 18, pp. 232-235
Hunting Indians in a taxicab. By Kate Sanborn. Badger, 1911.
In N. Y. Public Library
Lo, the wooden Indian. By F. W. Weitenkampf. N. Y. Times,
Aug. 3, 1890, p. 16, col. 1. In N. J. Historical Society Library
Methods of carvers and styles of Indians
Social history of smoking. By G. L. Apperson. Putnam, 1916
English. Chap. 15, Tobacconists' signs
Old American weather vanes. By E. B. Allen. International
Studio, Mar. 1925, Vol. 80, pp. 450-453
Describes well known early American weather vanes (metal and wood)
"And joy, a vane that veers." Antiques, Dec. 1930, Vol. 18,
Note and illustration of iron vane similar to No. 128
Candledays. By M. N. Rawson. Century, 1927 917.3 R192
Mention of weather vanes in Chap. 1 3
READING LIST 105
Eagle motive of the federal era; wooden eagles of New England
coast towns. By Nancy Cooper. House Beautiful, Nov. 1927,
Vol. 62, pp. 552, 606
Barber, Joel. History of American decoys. N. Y. Derrydale
To be published in fall of 1932
Playthings of the past. By A. V. L. Carrick. Antiques, Jan.
1922, Vol. 1, pp. 10-16
Primitive invasion. Antiques, July 1931, Vol. 20, p. 13
Describes a primitive Noah's ark
The Wood Carver of Salem. By Cousins and Riley. Little,
1916 728 C83
See also NOTE at end of list
Some carved figures by Samuel Mclntire. Bulletin of Metropoli-
tan Museum of Art, Aug. 1923, Vol. 18, pp. 194-196
Ornaments for furniture and garden
William Rush, earliest native-born American sculptor. By W.
Jordan. Art and Archaeology, June 1921, Vol. 1 1, pp. 245-7
A Philadelphia sculptor: William Rush. By E. L. Gilliams. Lip-
pincott's Magazine, Aug. 1893, Vol. 52, pp. 249-253
Early American wood sculpture. By Henry Branscombe. Inter-
national Studio, Oct. 1927, Vol. 88, pp. 61-64
Rush and Mclntire
And the pursuit of happiness. Antiques, July 1923, Vol. 4, p. 9
Note describing a carver of eagles
John Welch, carver. By M. L. Brown. Antiques, Jan. 1926,
Vol 9, p. 28
Maker of the "sacred codfish" of Boston
106 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
Schimmel, carver of a menagerie. By Helen McKearin. N. Y.
Sun, Nov. 16, 1929, p. 35, cols. 1, 2, and 3. In New York
Lord Dexter of Newburyport : The voice of the people. Antiques,
Mar. 1923, Vol. 3, pp. 107-108
Note on Dexter and his estate
History of the manufacture of iron in all ages. By J. M. Swank.
Phila., Pub. by the author, 261 South Fourth St., 1884
Descriptions of many early American furnaces
Fascinating fire-marks. By H. E. Gillingham. Antiques, Dec.
1923, Vol. 4, pp. 277-280
American fire-marks. By H. E. Gillingham. Phila., Privately
printed, 1914. In the Museum Library
Bible in iron. By H. C. Mercer. Doylestown, Penn., Bucks
County Historical Society, 1914 R 739 M53
Standard book on stoveplates. Many plates carefully described and illustrated
Portrait in iron. By C. M. Stow. Antiquarian, June 1930, Vol.
14, pp. 29-31
Stiegel as maker of stoveplates
Cast iron stoves of the Pennsylvania Germans. Bull, of Penn.
Museum, Apr. 1915, Vol. 13, pp. 19-22
MANUFACTURING METHODS IN METAL
Though describing modern methods, text books such as Practical Mould-
ing, by S. J. Parsons, Routledge, 1923 (671 P251) and Foundry Practice,
by J. M. Tate and M. O. Stone, Wiley, 1909 (672 Tl 8) give a good idea
of the sand mould process which was used in early cast iron work.
Plain and Ornamental Forging, by Ernst Schwarzkopf, Wiley, 1916,
(68 2 Sch9) describes methods similar to those used by early smiths. The
section on Forging in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th, 12th and 13th
editions, Vol. 10, explains the distinction between forging and founding,
page 663, and describes the method of die forging, used in the making of
many of the sheet metal weather vanes, pages 665-666
READING LIST 107
POTTERY AND PLASTER ORNAMENTS
Pottery and porcelain of the United States. By E. A. Barber.
Putnam, 1909 738B2317
Early American pottery and china. By John Spargo. Century,
1926 738S P 221
Early American folk pottery including the history of the Ben-
nington pottery. By A. H. Pitkin. Hartford, Conn., Privately
printed, 1918 R 738 P682
Plaster ornaments for collectors. By Mr. and Mrs. G. G. Gould.
House and Garden, Aug. 1929, Vol. 56, pp. 84, 122
Eighteenth century cottage ornaments. By Mr. and Mrs. G. G.
Gould. House and Garden, May 1930, Vol. 57. pp. 124,
Describes 19th century work
Early portrait sculpture in New England. By H. M. Forbes. Old
Time New England, Apr. 1929, Vol. 18, pp. 159-173
Old gravestones described and illustrated. Also mentions plaster work
THE PERIOD OF AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
Provincial society, 1690-1763. By J. T. Adams. Macmillan,
1927 973.2 Ad 1
Hawkers and walkers in early America. By Richardson Wright.
Lippincott, 1927 394 W93
The Yankee peddler and other wayfarers of the 19th century. Peddling of
plaster figures described on page 60
Weather vanes and sea-chests: Salem 1626-1926, a city of treas-
ures. By Katharine Butler. House Beautiful, July 1926, Vol.
60, pp. 45, 82, 84
Picture of old Salem
108 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE
Down to the sea in ships. By I. W. Anthony. Penn Pub. Co.,
1924 656 An8
Includes good descriptions of seaport towns in the days of the Yankee clipper
The Clipper Ship era. By Arthur H. Clark. Putnam, 1910
Famous sailing ships and their builder Donald McKay. By R. C.
McKay. Putnam, 1928 699 M19
Germans in colonial times. By L. F. Bittinger. Lippincott, 1901
German element in the United States. By A. B. Faust. Hough-
ton, 1909 973F27 Vol. 2
Proceedings and addresses. Pennsylvania-German Society, Pub.
by the Society, 1900 974.8 P38 11 Vol. 10
Detailed account of life and work of the Pennsylvania Germans
Rise of the common man, 1830-1850. By C. R. Fish. Macmil-
lan, 1927 973.5 F52
NOTE: Just how much of the work formerly attributed to him Samuel
Mclntire was actually responsible for, is a matter now open to question. In five
articles published in Antiques from November 1930 to March 1931, Fiske
Kimball brought the information up to date. As the result of further research,
Mabel M. Swan questioned many of his attributions in two articles in Antiques
for November and December 1931. In the January issue Mr. Kimball weighs